Copyright and the Value of the Public Domain: An Empirical Assessment
93 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2015 Last revised: 11 Apr 2015
Date Written: March 18, 2015
The purpose of this research study is 1) to map the size of the public domain and frequency of its use; 2) analyse the role of public domain works in value creation for UK businesses; 3) assist creators and entrepreneurs to identify business models that benefit from the public domain. In addition to these outputs, the intellectual contribution of this project was to arrive at a sufficiently precise definition of the public domain to permit measurement of its value, and secondly, to critically appraise theories of creativity and innovation that explain how value might be generated from non-exclusive use of ideas and works available to all. The non-rival, non-excludable nature of the public domain would seem to limit its appeal to creators in a competitive market. Any observed commercial uptake of public domain material consequently raises important questions: What stimulates creators to invest in transforming or re-publishing public domain works? How do firms gain and sustain competitive advantage when exploiting freely available public domain materials? Finally, what policy options are available to promote market uptake of public domain materials, and what are the likely impacts?
Keywords: Public domain, copyright, innovation, SMEs, creativity, crowdfunding, wikipedia, open source, media, intellectual property
JEL Classification: A12, D23, H41, K11, L21, L82
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