The Impact of Reprography on the Copyright System
Copyright Revision Series
90 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2001
This is a report performed for the Canadian government in 1981 on the impact of copying (photocopying) on copyright holders. As far as I know, it was the first theoretical claim that copying might not hurt copyright holders, and might even benefit them, due to the concept of indirect appropriability. Although some of this material later appeared in articles in the JPE and AER, this is a more complete treatment focused on the copying issue. This report proposes a fairly simple model to explain what happens in markets where copying occurs. The key parameters turn out to be the variability in the number of copies made from each original, the degree of substitutability between the original and the copy, and whether or not the copyright holder can engage in price discrimination. Anyone interested in the issue of copying in the Internet era, or who wants to and be able to analyze behavior such as that associated with Napster, will want to read this.
JEL Classification: K00, K1, L00, L43
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation