Copyright and the Value of the Public Domain: An Empirical Assessment

93 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2015 Last revised: 11 Apr 2015

See all articles by Kris Erickson

Kris Erickson

University of Leeds

Paul J. Heald

University of Illinois College of Law

Fabian Homberg

University of Zurich - Institute for Organization and Administrative Science

Martin Kretschmer

University of Glasgow

Dinusha Mendis

Bournemouth University

Date Written: March 18, 2015

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Erickson, Kristofer and Heald, Paul J. and Homberg, Fabian and Kretschmer, Martin and Mendis, Dinusha, Copyright and the Value of the Public Domain: An Empirical Assessment (March 18, 2015). Intellectual Property Office Research Paper, 2015 Forthcoming; University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-16. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2571220

Kristofer Erickson (Contact Author)

University of Leeds ( email )

School of Media and Communication
Leeds, Yorkshire LS2 9JT
United Kingdom

Paul J. Heald

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

Fabian Homberg

University of Zurich - Institute for Organization and Administrative Science ( email )

Plattenstrasse 14
CH-8032 Zurich
Switzerland

Martin Kretschmer

University of Glasgow ( email )

10 The Square
Glasgow, G12 8QQ
United Kingdom

Dinusha Mendis

Bournemouth University ( email )

Fern Barrow
Poole BH12 5BB, Dorset BH8 8EB
United Kingdom

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