Media, Technology and Copyright

Media, Technology and Copyright

Integrating Law and Economics

Michael A. Einhorn

Media, Technology and Copyright is an interdisciplinary work that applies economic theory to central topical issues in the law of intellectual property. Based on the author's professional experience as a professor, lecturer, and consultant, the volume represents the first full-length consideration of the diverse topics of law and copyright by a professional economist.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Michael A. Einhorn

Subjects: innovation and technology, technology and ict, law - academic, information and media law, intellectual property law

Extract

1.1 ECONOMICS AND COPYRIGHT Copyright for original works is now protected in the US by the Copyright Act of 1976, which is now codified in Title 17 of the US Code.1 Section 102 of the Act extends copyright protection to original works of authorship that are fixed in any tangible medium of expression.2 Eight identified works of authorship include material of literary, musical, dramatic, choreographic, pictorial/ sculptural, audiovisual, sound recording or architectural nature.3 Section 106 grants to copyright owners generally exclusive rights to make reproductions, prepare derivative works, distribute copies, make public performances and publicly display controlled works.4 However, the Act elsewhere provides important restrictions on the exercise of these rights, including fair use,5 term duration,6 the idea-expression dichotomy,7 the first sale doctrine8 and exemptions for libraries,9 education10 and the blind and the handicapped.11 The economic justification to protect with copyright an artistic work or software is reasonable. A large fraction of production costs must be incurred upfront, with considerable expense and effort to create and work up for market. Without copyright protection, the resulting product is nonexcludable, in the sense that later access to content can be available to all who see or hear it. While free reproduction, performance and display may benefit users, such takings can expropriate from creators due rewards for invested efforts. In time, the danger of expropriation compounds and reduces the incentives to create content in the first place. One general economic remedy for the economic problem then is to establish...