Perspectives from Law, Economics and Political Economy
New Horizons in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Meir Perez Pugatch
Chapter 13: Technology, Time and Market Forces: The Stakeholders in the Kazaa Era
1 Uma Suthersanen history has shown that time and market forces often provide equilibrium in balancing interests, whether the new technology be a player piano, a copier, a tape recorder, a video recorder, a personal computer, a karaoke machine or an MP3 player. Thus, it is prudent for courts to exercise caution. Judge Thomas, MGM Studios et al. v. Grokster Ltd.2 INTRODUCTION Every technological revolution has invariably been greeted by howls of hysteria from copyright owners. Historically speaking, technology has always changed the relationship between three key stakeholders in the world of commercial copyright goods: the author, the industry in charge of the copyright good, and the consumer. The piracy threat posed by reprographic technology was resolved by lucrative blanket licensing deals between copyright collecting societies and a host of disparate mass users of copyright works including churches, universities, businesses and libraries; the piracy threat posed by video technology led to lucrative video (and now DVD) rental income for the copyright owner; the piracy threat posed by downloading of music will soon turn into a booming business model for buying singles through iTunes, Napster (ex post) and MyCoke.com. History shows us, however, that the stakeholder triumvirate, that is author–industry–consumer remains consistent. One major reason for this is that the structure and performance of this relationship, and the market for the copyright good, has relied on, and continues to rely on, technological improvements to compensate for any shifts in control and power. The US Supreme Court was of this...
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