A Taxonomy of Empirical Research on Copyright - How Do We Inform Policy?

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This paper summarizes key results in the empirical literature on unauthorized copying and copyright, and puts them into context. Casting the net more widely than previous surveys, it highlights noteworthy gaps and contradictions in the literature. There is initial evidence, for example, that the economic effects of digital copying vary between different industries, but these differences are not yet well understood. Most importantly, the empirical literature is unbalanced. The bulk of econometric research has focused on unauthorized copying and rights holder revenues. Little is known about the implications for user welfare, for the supply of copyright works, or about the costs of running a copyright system — and the preliminary evidence is often quite surprising. Much work on these issues remains to arrive at reasonable implications for copyright policy.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)47-92
Number of pages45
JournalReview of Economic Research on Copyright Issues
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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