Effects of Copyrights on Science
71 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2014 Last revised: 17 Jun 2018
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: Suggested Citation