Effects of Copyrights on Science

71 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2014 Last revised: 17 Jun 2018

See all articles by Barbara Biasi

Barbara Biasi

Petra Moser

NYU Stern Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 10, 2018


With digitization, the costs of distributing content are negligible. Yet copyrights, which grant exclusive rights for 95 years, create substantial access costs. We investigate the effects of these costs on science, using a change in copyrights due to WWII. In 1942, the Book Republication Program, allowed US publishers to republish exact copies of German-owned science books. Using two complementary identification strategies we show that this change led to a substantial increase in citations, which was primarily driven by lower access costs. Lower prices helped to diffuse books to less affluent institutions, allowing more researchers to use these books.

Keywords: Copyrights, Media, Science, Books, Open Access.

JEL Classification: O34, L82, N42

Suggested Citation

Biasi, Barbara and Moser, Petra, Effects of Copyrights on Science (June 10, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2542879 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2542879

Petra Moser (Contact Author)

NYU Stern Department of Economics ( email )

44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

No contact information is available for Barbara Biasi

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