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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  

Christian Handke

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Faculty of History and Arts

Ruth Towse

Bournemouth University - Business School

Date Written: July, 12 2008

Abstract

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

Handke, Christian and Towse, Ruth, Economics of Copyright Collecting Societies (July, 12 2008). International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, Vol. 38, No.8, pp. 937-957, 2007 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1159085 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1159085

Christian Handke (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Faculty of History and Arts ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
Rotterdam NL-3000 DR
Netherlands

HOME PAGE: http://www.eshcc.eur.nl/handke/

Ruth Towse

Bournemouth University - Business School ( email )

Executive Business Centre, 89 Holdenhurst Road,
Bournemouth, BH8 8EB
United Kingdom

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