Private Appropriability and Sharing of Knowledge: Convergence or Contradiction? The Opposite Tragedy of the Creative Commons
DEVELOPMENTS IN THE ECONOMICS OF COPYRIGHT, L. Takeyama, W. Gordon, R. Towse, eds., Edward Elgar
18 Pages Posted: 3 Jan 2005
This paper takes the route of attempting to gain further insight into the ambiguous welfare effects of copyright, ambiguously dependent on the balance between two opposite forces: the increase in the supply of new works brought about by the statutory economic incentive on one hand, and a diminution in the supply brought about by the exclusionary effect of copyright on the other hand.
Using a selection of literature drawn from the various social science disciplines, it attempts to expose some of the shortcomings of traditional economic theory as it is applied to copyright. The resultant perspective should lead to a better understanding of the incentive/exclusion trade-off, showing how the overall effect is likely to be greater than expected because today copyright affects not just the cost of accessing each individual protected work, but equally and significantly impacts on the productive contexts - those which we have termed creative commons - by leading to a depletion of knowledge and its dynamic productivity.
It follows, by mere straightforward application of neoclassical economic reasoning, that the today extended copyright is liable to determine dynamically inefficient outcomes analogous to those presaged by Hardin in his landmark paper, and which - in tribute to this seminal author - we have termed the opposite tragedy of the creative commons.
Keywords: Property rights, creative commons, social networks, tacit and codified
JEL Classification: K11, O34, Z13, A12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation