Copyright: A Plea for Empirical Research

11 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2008

See all articles by Ivan P. L. Png

Ivan P. L. Png

National University of Singapore (NUS)

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I review empirical research into the economic impact of copyright law. A key difficulty is that there is little systematic measurement of creative output and copying: there are only fragmentary statistics for the various industries. Studies of U.S. copyright registrations provide conflicting results: one shows that small changes in fees have large impacts on renewals, while another shows that many movies and books have long lives. All but one studies find that music piracy - whether conventional or digital - has hurt legitimate CD sales. Studies of extensions of copyright duration yield conflicting results: one focusing on U.S. registrations finds no effect, while a multi-country study finds that extensions are associated with substantial increases in movie production. I conclude with directions for future empirical research.

Keywords: Copyright

Suggested Citation

Png, Ivan P. L., Copyright: A Plea for Empirical Research. Review of Economic Research on Copyright Issues, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 3-13, 2006, Available at SSRN:

Ivan P. L. Png (Contact Author)

National University of Singapore (NUS) ( email )

Singapore, 117543
+65 6516-6807 (Phone)


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