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Comparative Law and Economics

Comparative Law and Economics

Research Handbooks in Comparative Law series

Edited by Theodore Eisenberg and Giovanni B. Ramello

Contemporary law and economics has greatly expanded its scope of inquiry as well as its sphere of influence. The extension to many idiosyncratic topics and issues that sometime lie outside the traditional domain of the discipline have fostered the emergence of a new consciousness better grasped by a comparative approach. The original contributions to this Research Handbook provide a glimpse of the new perspectives that enrich the law and economics methodology.

Chapter 17: Copyright law and the supply of creative work: Evidence from the movies

Ivan Paak Liang Png and Qiu-hong Wang

Subjects: economics and finance, law and economics, law - academic, comparative law, law and economics


There is almost no empirical evidence on the extent to which copyright law works in the sense of increasing the production of creative work. Here, we study the impact of two major changes in copyright law – the extension of copyright term and the European Rental Directive – on the production of movies. In a panel of 23 OECD countries, among which 19 extended copyright term at various times between 1991–2005, we found no statistically robust evidence that copyright term extension was associated with higher movie production. In a panel of 17 European countries between 1991–2005, we found no statistically robust evidence that compliance with the Rental Directive was associated with higher movie production. The extension of copyright term and European Rental Directive were particularly pertinent to the movie industry. Movies are particularly long-lived, the Rental Directive specifically addressed the movie industry, and, unlike other copyrightable products, sequential innovation is not important in movies. Hence, if major changes in copyright law had no discernable impact on movie production, it seems the case for copyright law is weak indeed.

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