Researcher: Current Copyright Law Stifles Innovation

Jul 13th, 2007 | By | Category: General, Podcasting Law

Cambridge University PhD candidate Rufus Pollock has published a paper that takes a look at the economics of copyrights, and concludes that the optimum length of copyrights is 14 years, a fraction of their current length.

Pollock’s research (pdf) looks at the economic benefits of both copyrighted work and work that has entered the public domain, and¬†the falling costs of creating new works.

Technological change has substantially reduced the costs of production and distribution of most copyrightable goods. On this basis our first theoretical result would imply that the level of optimal copyright is dropping. Similarly, given that several types of copyrightable work, for example films and recordings, are now well over fifty years old, the second theoretical result similarly implies that optimal term is falling.

Our estimate of optimal term (14 years) is far below the length copyright in almost all jurisdictions. This implies that there is a significant role for policymakers to improve social welfare by reducing copyright term as well as implying that existing terms should not be extended. Such a result is particularly importance given the degree of recent debate on this precise topic.

The research suggests that lengthy copyright terms effectively protect the status quo while stifling innovation.

via Ars Technica

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