The Perils of Copyright Regulation

18 Pages Posted: 17 Feb 2014 Last revised: 6 Oct 2014

Date Written: October 5, 2014


The most robust framework for understanding the evolution and consequences of copyright statutes in the United States is the dynamics of interventionism. I apply the framework of Kirzner's (1985) perils of regulation to the general revision of copyright law in 1976, and explore its effects on entrepreneurship and discovery processes. Critics of copyright commonly recognize the distortions of rent-seeking, but I emphasize the utility of interventionism to explain the “unsimulated” and the “stifled” discovery processes set in motion by copyright interventions, which use legal processes to allocate resources, and deter future discovery by raising transaction costs.

Keywords: Copyright, Regulation, Intellectual Property, Market Process, Interventionism

JEL Classification: B25, N42, K39

Suggested Citation

Safner, Ryan, The Perils of Copyright Regulation (October 5, 2014). Review of Austrian Economics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Ryan Safner (Contact Author)

U.S. Copyright Office ( email )

101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, DC 20559-0001
United States


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