The Production of Information in an Online World: Is Copy Right?

87 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2015 Last revised: 6 Apr 2019

See all articles by Julia Cage

Julia Cage

Sciences Po Paris Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Nicolas Herve

Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (Ina)

Marie-Luce Viaud

Institut National de l'Audiovisuel

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 4, 2019

Abstract

This paper documents the extent of copying and estimates the returns to originality in online news production. We build a unique dataset combining all the online content produced by French news media during the year 2013 with new micro audience data. We develop a topic detection algorithm that identifies each news event, trace the timeline of each story, and study news propagation. We unravel new evidence on online news production. First, we document high reactivity of online media: one quarter of the news stories are reproduced online in under 4 minutes. Second, we show that this comes with extensive copying: only 33% of the online content is original. Third, we investigate the cost of copying for original news producers. Using article-level variations and media-level daily audience combined with article-level social media statistics, we find that readers partly switch to the original producers, thereby mitigating the newsgathering incentive problem raised by copying.

Keywords: Internet, Information spreading, Copyright, Investigative journalism, Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, Reputation

JEL Classification: L11, L15, L82, L86

Suggested Citation

Cage, Julia and Herve, Nicolas and Viaud, Marie-Luce, The Production of Information in an Online World: Is Copy Right? (April 4, 2019). NET Institute Working Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2672050 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2672050

Julia Cage (Contact Author)

Sciences Po Paris Department of Economics ( email )

28 Rue des Saints-Pères
Paris, 75007
France

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Nicolas Herve

Institut National de l'Audiovisuel (Ina) ( email )

France

Marie-Luce Viaud

Institut National de l'Audiovisuel ( email )

France

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