Copyright provides monopoly grants for creators, and these rights have traditionally been protected by a combination of law and technology. Recent technological changes associated with digitization have undermined effective copyright protection by facilitating piracy. At the same time, other aspects of digitization have reduced the cost of bringing new products to market. Despite collapsing revenue to some industries, such as recorded music, the number of new creative products – in music, movies, television, and books - has risen sharply. By many measures, the value of the new products to consumers is also high. Despite the understandable concerns of many in these industries, we are currently experiencing a golden age for new
Digitization facilitated piracy, which threatened revenue and continued production for some cultural products. Digitization has also brought offsetting cost reduction, which allows creators to reach audiences without the permissions and investments of traditional gatekeepers. Hence, digitization’s impacts on the creation of new cultural products is ambiguous, but even if production were to rise, it might be dominated by low-quality products brought to market without the nurture of traditional gatekeepers. I summarize research documenting what I term a ‘digital renaissance’: (1) substantial growth in the number of new music, movies, books and television programmes; (2) that the new products made possible by digitization make up a growing and substantial share of products that consumers find appealing; and (3) that new vintages of the products are appealing to consumers in comparison with older vintages.