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More Music in Movies: What Box Office Data Reveals About the Availability of Public Domain Songs in Movies from 1968-2008

25 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2012 Last revised: 14 Jun 2012

Paul J. Heald

University of Illinois College of Law

Peibei Shi

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jeffrey Stoiber

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Qingyao Zheng

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 8, 2012

Abstract

A previous empirical study suggested that as copyrighted songs transitioned into the public domain they were used just as frequently in movie soundtracks as when they were still legally protected. That study, however, did not account for the number people who viewed each movie in the theater. Since the debate over copyright term extension centers on the continuing “availability” of works as they fall into the public domain, a better measure of the availability of songs in movies would account for the relative box office success of the movies in which the songs appear. The present study collects box office data for hundreds of movies from 1968-2008 in which appeared hundreds of songs and concludes that public domain songs were heard by just as many people in movie theaters before and after they fell into the public domain.

Keywords: copyright, movies, songs, music, empirical, public domain, term extension

JEL Classification: D23, K0, K11

Suggested Citation

Heald, Paul J. and Shi, Peibei and Stoiber, Jeffrey and Zheng, Qingyao, More Music in Movies: What Box Office Data Reveals About the Availability of Public Domain Songs in Movies from 1968-2008 (June 8, 2012). Illinois Public Law Research Paper No. 11-23. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2080184 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2080184

Paul J. Heald (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
706-372-2567 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.illinois.edu/faculty/profile/PaulHeald

PEIBEI SHI

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Jeffrey Stoiber

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Qingyao Zheng

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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