Of Coase and Comics, or, The Comedy of Copyright

17 Pages Posted: 1 May 2009

See all articles by Michael J. Madison

Michael J. Madison

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law

Date Written: May 1, 2009


This Essay responds to There’s No Free Laugh (Anymore): The Emergence of Intellectual Property Norms and the Transformation of Stand-Up Comedy, by Dotan Oliar and Christopher Sprigman. It argues that case studies of disciplines and domains that may be governed by intellectual property regimes are invaluable tools for comparative analysis of the respective roles of law and other forms of social order. The Essay examines the case of stand-up comedy under a lens that is somewhat broader than the one used by the authors of the original study, one that takes into account not only the social norms of individual comics themselves but also features of the entertainment market - and particularly the market for record albums - that shaped comics' incentives and behaviors and comic content itself.

Keywords: copyright, social norms, intellectual property, law and economics, emergence of property rights, stand-up comedy, commons, case studies

JEL Classification: D23, K11, L17, O34

Suggested Citation

Madison, Michael J., Of Coase and Comics, or, The Comedy of Copyright (May 1, 2009). Virginia Law Review in Brief, Vol. 95, p. 27, 2009, U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-15, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1397657

Michael J. Madison (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
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