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Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy$
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Avi Goldfarb, Shane M. Greenstein, and Catherine E. Tucker

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226206844

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226206981.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 May 2020

Copyright and the Profitability of Authorship

Copyright and the Profitability of Authorship

Evidence from Payments to Writers in the Romantic Period

Chapter:
(p.357) 12 Copyright and the Profitability of Authorship
Source:
Economic Analysis of the Digital Economy
Author(s):

Megan MacGarvie

Petra Moser

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226206981.003.0012

Proponents of stronger copyright terms have argued that stronger copyright terms encourage creativity by increasing the profitability of authorship. Empirical evidence, however, is scarce, because data on the profitability of authorship is typically not available to the public. Moreover, at current copyright lengths of 70 years after the author’s death, further extensions may not have any effects on the profitability of authorship. To investigate effects of copyright at lower pre-existing levels of protection, this chapter introduces a new data set of publishers’ payments to authors of British fiction between 1800 and 1830. These data indicate that payments to authors nearly doubled following an increase in the length of copyright in 1814. These findings suggest that starting from low pre-existing levels of protection policies that strengthen copyright terms may, in fact, increase the profitability of authorship.

Keywords:   copyright, intellectual property, culture, contracts

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