How Copyright Keeps Works Disappeared

38 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2014

See all articles by Paul J. Heald

Paul J. Heald

University of Illinois College of Law

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 2014

Abstract

A random sample of new books for sale on Amazon.com shows more books for sale from the 1880s than the 1980s. Why? This article presents new data on how copyright stifles the reappearance of works. First, a random sample of more than 2,000 new books for sale on Amazon.com is analyzed along with a random sample of almost 2,000 songs available on new DVDs. 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).

Suggested Citation

Heald, Paul J., How Copyright Keeps Works Disappeared (December 2014). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 11, Issue 4, pp. 829-866, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2516113 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12057

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

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