The Law and Economics of Copyright Law and Copyright Exceptions, Limitations, and Immunities
27 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2019
Date Written: January 15, 2019
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: Suggested Citation