The Production of Information in an Online World: Is Copy Right?
58 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2015 Last revised: 11 Dec 2017
Date Written: December 9, 2017
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 (newspaper, television, radio, pure online media, and a news agency) during the year 2013 with new micro audience data. We develop a topic detection algorithm that identifies each news event, we trace the timeline of each story and study news propagation. We unravel new evidence on online news production. First, we show that one quarter of the news stories are reproduced online in less than 4 minutes. Second, we find that only 32.6% of the online content is original. Third, we show that reputation effects partly counterbalance the negative impact of plagiarism on newsgathering incentives. By using media-level daily audience and article-level social media statistics (Facebook and Twitter shares), we find that original content represents between 54 and 62% of online news consumption. Reputation mechanisms actually appear to solve about 30 to 40% of the copyright violation problem.
Keywords: Internet, Information spreading, Copyright, Investigative journalism, Social Media, Facebook, Twitter, Reputation
JEL Classification: L11, L15, L82, L86
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