Table of Contents

A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition

A Handbook of Cultural Economics, Second Edition

Elgar original reference

Edited by Ruth Towse

The second edition of this widely acclaimed and extensively cited collection of original contributions by specialist authors reflects changes in the field of cultural economics over the last eight years. Thoroughly revised chapters alongside new topics and contributors bring the Handbook up to date, taking into account new research, literature and the impact of new technologies in the creative industries.

Chapter 8: Artists’ Rights

Michael Rushton

Subjects: economics and finance, cultural economics, intellectual property, public sector economics


Michael Rushton At the foundation of the economic analysis of property and contract is the hypothesis that the common law, and other institutions, evolve to ensure that rights will be exchanged between individuals so that in the end the rights are held by those who value them the highest. The Coase (1960) theorem holds that, as long as property rights are clearly defined, and there are no transaction costs associated with their exchange, the resulting allocation of rights will be efficient and will be independent of their initial allocation. Of course, it is the existence of transaction costs that makes things interesting. When transaction costs are high, so that rights will be difficult to exchange, efficiency will be obtained only when the law awards rights initially to those who will value them most highly. In this sense the law ‘mimics’ the market. And so, in cultural economics, we look to see whether the various property rights granted to artists represent an efficient allocation. An application of this principle is in the economic analysis of the law of copyright, where efficiency dictates awards of limited rights to creators (the copyright) and users (fair use) so that aggregate wealth is maximized (Landes and Posner, 1989). For a more specific case, consider an artist creating a parody of a work. Landes (2002) and Posner (1992) claim that a transaction cost analysis would allow unlicensed use of works for parody if the target of the parody were the original work itself, since a bargain...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information