Digitization and Copyright:
Some recent evidence
CoPyrIGHT-relATeD INDUSTrIeS have been threatened by technological change in the past decade. Events raise questions about whether
copyright policy, or its enforcement,
requires rethinking. Evidence-based
policy-making requires, of course,
evidence. That begs the question:
what do we really know about piracy
and its effects?
As it turns out, there has been
an outpouring of research on some
copyright-related issues in the past
decade. The results may surprise
some readers. Reports of shrinking
revenue in the copyright-protected
industries are a cause for concern
and further exploration, but many
of the answers needed to inform
sensible policy are not yet available.
Sensible policy has to ask the right
questions, and it has to inform the
answers with the right data.
Napster started it
Photogra Ph by chriS angle
Much of what is known about copyright concerns the recorded music industry. Yet, recorded music makes up
a relatively small part of the copyright-dependent sectors of the economy,
which includes motion pictures, software, video games, and publishing,
Why is the music market the favored
topic among researchers even though
music itself is not intrinsically impor-
tant? Blame it on Napster. Because file
sharing has been widespread since
Napster, the music market has experi-
enced a shock with observable effects,
namely, a weakening of copyright pro-
tection. Most observers agree that tech-
nological change has sharply reduced
the effective degree of protection that
copyright affords since 1999.
the original logo for a 1980s anti-copyright infringement campaign by the British
Phonographic industry (BPi), a British music industry trade group.