Outgrowing Copyright: The Effect of Market Size on Copyright Policy

29 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2015

See all articles by Tom W. Bell

Tom W. Bell

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Date Written: March 7, 2008

Abstract

Does copyright protection offer the best means of stimulating the production of expressive works? Perhaps, at the moment, it does. If so, however, copyright protection will probably become inefficiently over-protective as the market for expressive works grows. With such growth, copyright holders will find it increasingly remunerative to focus on customers willing to pay a premium for particular expressive works. In a larger, more finely segmented market, copyright holders will find that their statutory rights generate larger monopoly rents. Yet copyright holders will suffer no corresponding increase in production or distribution costs; thanks to technological advances, we can expect those costs to continue to decline. The private benefits of copyright protection will rise. So, too, will its social costs. Holding all else equal, therefore, growth in the market for expressive works will make copyright policy inefficient. This paper explains that effect and discusses how policymakers should respond.

Keywords: Intellectual property, copyright, policy, technology

Suggested Citation

Bell, Tom W., Outgrowing Copyright: The Effect of Market Size on Copyright Policy (March 7, 2008). Chapman University, Fowler Law Research Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2637045 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2637045

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