Public Choice Theory, the Constitution, and Public Understanding of the Copyright System
56 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2017 Last revised: 12 Mar 2019
Date Written: August 25, 2017
The U.S. Constitution commands that copyright laws must benefit society by promoting the progress of science and the useful arts. Building on past research in public choice theory, this Article posits that Congress has deviated from this utilitarian goal, and the only means to correct the state of affairs is via pressure from the electorate. However, reform is unlikely if the citizenry lacks sufficient knowledge to recognize that copyright laws should be, but are currently not, designed to maximize public benefit. The following study uses novel survey data to establish that the U.S. electorate poorly understands the copyright regime and is thus unlikely to exert the necessary influence to effect reform. This Article then discusses the implications of these findings and proposes means to return copyright to its Constitutional moorings.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation