At the Ref Desk (4/15/18): File under 'Learn Something New Everyday': Wanna print more than one page (say, 2, 4, 9, etc.) on the same side of the paper? That's what the option "Multiple" is for after typing Ctrl-P. (Thanks to the student who figured this out after he asked me and I told him I didn't know.) [more...]
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Michael Geist

Harvard Study Finds Weaker Copyright Protection Has Benefited Society

Submitted by webmaster on Sat, 6/27/09 (5:35pm)
Pub Date: 
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Author: 

Overall production figures for the creative industries appear to be consistent with this view that file sharing has not discouraged artists and publishers. While album sales have generally fallen since 2000, the number of albums being created has exploded. In 2000, 35,516 albums were released. Seven years later, 79,695 albums (including 25,159 digital albums) were published (Nielsen SoundScan, 2008). Even if file sharing were the reason that sales have fallen, the new technology does not appear to have exacted a toll on the quantity of music produced. Obviously, it would be nice to adjust output for differences in quality, but we are not aware of any research that has tackled this question.

Similar trends can be seen in other creative industries. For example, the worldwide number of feature films produced each year has increased from 3,807 in 2003 to 4,989 in 2007 (Screen Digest, 2004 and 2008). Countries where film piracy is rampant have typically increased production. This is true in South Korea (80 to 124), India (877 to 1164), and China (140 to 402). During this period, U.S. feature film production has increased from 459 feature films in 2003 to 590 in 2007 (MPAA, 2007).

Given the increase in artistic production along with the greater public access conclude that "weaker copyright protection, it seems, has benefited society." This is consistent with the authors' view that weaker copyright is "uambiguously desirable if it does not lessen the incentives of artists and entertainment companies to produce new works."