Economics of Copyright Collecting Societies
International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, Vol. 38, No.8, pp. 937-957, 2007
19 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2008
Date Written: July, 12 2008
Economists have long recognised that copyright collecting societies (CCS), i.e. organisations that specialise on administering "copyrights held by a large number of owners", play a fundamental role in the copyright system. Indeed, the economic literature explains why without such organisations, copyright law would be ineffective in some markets for copyrighted works: the majority of authors and users would not be able to grant or obtain permission to use many works of art, literature, music, film and other such works that copyright law protects. In economic terms, CCS enable markets to function for the use of copyright works in situations in which the copyright holder cannot contract directly with the user. But because many markets for copyright works have changed rapidly over recent years, we should ask under which circumstances CCS would continue to play a constructive, maybe even essential, role. It has been argued many times that technical solutions to digital rights management (DRM) will render CCS obsolete as the market for copyrights shifts online and policy-makers such as the European Commission have begun to scrutinise the role played by CCS in the dynamic market for copyrighted media content online (REC 2005/737/EC). The purpose of this survey of the specialised economic literature is to take stock and to identify possible gaps in the understanding of the economics of CCS and to advocate attention to this literature in contemporary debates about them.
Keywords: Copyright, collecting societies, collective administration
JEL Classification: D23, D42, L31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation