The Law and Economics of Copyright Law and Copyright Exceptions, Limitations, and Immunities

27 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2019

See all articles by George Robert Barker

George Robert Barker

Australian National University; Wolson College, University of Oxford; Law and Economics Consulting Associates Ltd

Date Written: January 15, 2019

Abstract

This paper provides a brief review of the law and economics of Copyright Law and Copyright Exceptions, Limitations, and Immunities.

Copyright law requires the creator’s consent to copy, publish, convey, transfer or profit from their original work. Copyright exceptions are legal limitations on the requirement that the prior consent, or authorization of the rights holder is necessary to make use of creative works. Copyright exceptions thus permit certain acts (uses) which would otherwise constitute an infringement of the exclusive right to copy. Copyright exceptions characterize the circumstances in which copyright will not be infringed by an unauthorized reproduction or presentation of creative works. Copyright limitations limit the scope or duration copyright holders rights. Copyright immunities remove the sanctions imposed for breach of copyright law obligations e.g. immunity from civil damages.

This paper consists of three sections:

• First we briefly examine the origin and nature of copyright law, and copyright exceptions; and
• Second we briefly examine the economic rationale for copyright;
• Third we examine the rationale for copyright exceptions, (including the “fair use” rule), and various other limitations, and immunities (such as “safe harbours”) in detail.

In the third section we discuss a number of economic rationales advanced for copyright exceptions, limitations and immunities including:

- Transaction costs Rationales - Monopoly Pricing Rationales
- Non-Rivalry and Non-divisibility rationales - Indirect Appropriability Rationales and
- Externalities rationales including network externalise and anti-commons rationales

The paper concludes that the economic case for greater copyright exceptions, (including the “fair use” rule), and various other limitations, and immunities (such as “safe harbours”) has been overstated.

Keywords: Intellectual Property, Copyright Law, Economics

JEL Classification: K11, K29

Suggested Citation

Barker, George Robert, The Law and Economics of Copyright Law and Copyright Exceptions, Limitations, and Immunities (January 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3315619 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3315619

George Robert Barker (Contact Author)

Australian National University ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200
Australia

Wolson College, University of Oxford ( email )

Linton Road
Oxford, OX2 6UD
United Kingdom

Law and Economics Consulting Associates Ltd ( email )

Level 9 Chifley Tower
2 Chifley Sq
Sydney, New South Wales 2000
Australia
+61405 394 193 (Phone)

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