Copyright and the Perfect Curve

24 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2000

See all articles by Julie E. Cohen

Julie E. Cohen

Georgetown University Law Center

Date Written: 2000


This essay argues that the assumption that "progress" is qualitatively independent of the underlying copyright entitlement structure is wrong. In particular, it argues that a shift to a copyright rule structure based on highly granular, contractually enforced "price discrimination" would work a fundamental shift, as well, in the nature of the progress produced. The critique of the contractual price discrimination model, moreover, exposes deep defects in the use of classical "law and economic" methodology to solve problems relating to the incentive structure of copyright law. What is needed, instead, is an economic model of copyright that acknowledges the central role of unpredictability in the creative process.

Suggested Citation

Cohen, Julie E., Copyright and the Perfect Curve (2000). Available at SSRN: or

Julie E. Cohen (Contact Author)

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
202-662-9871 (Phone)
202-662-9411 (Fax)


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