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15 Development of the economics of copyright* Christian Handke, Paul Stepan and Ruth Towse 1 Introduction Once only the preserve of a relatively small group of specialist lawyers, work on copyright is now established in a wide range of academic disciplines, as well as in interdisciplinary endeavours.1 That is because copyright law has wide-ranging implications for many economic, social, cultural and political considerations besides legal ones. In this chapter we deal with the development of the economic analysis of copyright and its implications for competition law. In the past, there has been far more emphasis in the economic analysis of intellectual property (IP) on patents than on copyright, no doubt in part because patents were seen as a much more important vehicle for encouraging economic growth. Now that we have entered an era in which service industries are growing faster than manufacturing and there is a great deal of emphasis on the creative industries, a greater interest in the economics of copyright has developed. However, there are fundamental differences between patents and copyrights that make a separate analysis necessary: copyright is automatic and so costs the creator nothing to acquire; it applies to works that may be close substitutes and, in addition, copyright lasts much longer than a patent, depending upon the life of the author plus 70 years. There have been previous surveys of the economics of copyright.2 * This chapter is a shortened and merged version of two reports commissioned by SGAE (Spanish Authors’ Society) Fundación Autor. We...
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