How Copyright Keeps Works Disappeared
Illinois Program in Law, Behavior and Social Science Paper No. LBSS14-07
55 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2013 Last revised: 31 Mar 2014
Date Written: July 5, 2013
A random sample of new books for sale on Amazon.com shows more books for sale from the 1880’s than the 1980’s. Why? This paper presents new data on how copyright stifles the reappearance of works. First, a random sample of more than 2000 new books for sale on Amazon.com is analyzed along with a random sample of almost 2000 songs available on new DVD’s. Copyright status correlates highly with absence from the Amazon shelf. Together with publishing business models, copyright law seems to deter distribution and diminish access. Further analysis of eBook markets, used books on Abebooks.com, and the Chicago Public library collection suggests that no alternative marketplace for out-of-print books has yet developed. Data from iTunes and YouTube, however, tell a different story for older hit songs. The much wider availability of old music in digital form may be explained by the differing holdings in two important cases Boosey & Hawkes v. Disney (music) and Random House v. Rosetta Stone (books).
Keywords: empirical, Amazon, Youtube, public domain, DMCA, secondary liability, copyright, term extension
JEL Classification: D23, D42, K00, K11, O31, O34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation