Posts Tagged ‘economic impact’

Patents, copyright and competition

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Judge Posner, one of the authors of the leading modern text on the economics of intellectual property (amongst many other things), has published a controversial blog post questioning whether patents and copyright law, but particularly patents, are granting excessive protection.

Judge Posner accepts that patents for pharmaceuticals are the “poster child for patent protection”, but contrasts that to patents for computer software.

The IPKat explores some aspects of this part of Judge Posner’s critique.

In his judicial capacity, Judge Posner recently dismissed both Apple’s and Motorola Mobility’s attempts to use their respective patent portfolios to extract injunctions and damages from the other (pdf of the Opinion).

On copyright, Judge Posner is particularly concerned about the term of protection: currently (i.e., until Mickey Mouse next nears expiry) 70 years after the death of the author(s) for published works and the very restrictive approach to “fair use”. Amongst other things, Judge Posner refers to the music companies’ practice of requiring licences for “samples”.

Wonder what he would make of the Kookaburra that scotched Men at Work?

The 1709 blog delves into this part of his Honour’s views.

More on new gTLDs

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Further to yesterday’s post, ICANN has released:

  • v4 of the draft Applicant’s Guidebook; and
  • an Economic Framework for the Analysis of the Expansion of Generic Top-level Domain Names;
  • and two “snapshots”.

The materials are open for public comment until 21 July.

Lid dip: Marty

The Economic Framework and snapshots can be downloaded via here.

Try not to be cynical: this is about giving people who missed out on registering their domain name in .com (or wherever) a chance to get their preferred domain name; it is not about creating ways for registrars to generate more fees or …

According to the Economic Framework document, there would be a US$185,000 starting fee for a new gTLD.

It identified:

The potential benefits of new gTLDs to Internet users are that they may provide competition to existing gTLDs, add differentiation and new products that are valuable to consumers, and/or relieve congestion problems caused by having only a few gTLDs.

Notwithstanding 2 waves of new gTLDs, 73% of domain names registered in “open” gTLDs are still registered in .com (which accounts for only 6.3% of all domain names). “Only” 52% of survey respondents who registered their domain name in .biz, for example, had registered the domain “for defensive purposes”, i.e., to stop someone else registering it. So much for competition and reducing congestion. How many people can register “coca-cola” anyway?

Apparently, one fifth of survey respondents who registered in .biz or .info or .name had not previously registered a domain name and 55% claimed to have registered a different domain name to names registered in a pre-existing gTLD. However, looking at duplicate domain names registered in more than 1 open gTLD:

a high percentage of domain names registered on .info were also registered on .com (89 percent), .net (81 percent), and .org (75 percent), and a high percentage of domain names registered on .biz were also registered on .com (85 percent).

but:

only 11 percent of the overlapping .info and .com names were registered to the same owner. For .biz and .com overlap, the percentage registered to the same owner was higher, 42 percent.

A different study by Zittrain and Edelman based on a sample of 823 names registered in both .biz and .com estimated about 20-30% were registered to the same person.

About half of the registrations in .info and .biz were inactive, while 15% simply redirected to another website.

New gTLDs might reduce search costs, perhaps, on the theory that you would only have to go to the .canon gTLD to find information about Canon’s products. Would Canon give up canon.com? Who searches that way anyway? Only 90% of survey respondents reported using a search engine to find things on the Internet – so for those users of search engines, new gTLDs are “less likely” to reduce search costs. How long does it take to get a search result from Google or Bing! or Yahoo (may be a problem with exclamation marks here)?

On the negative side, the Economic Framework reports an estimate of legal costs for UDRP proceedings in the order of US$1.58 million which “suggests that the external costs associated with cyber-squatting in new gTLDs would be low”, although the study does acknowledge that there would be an increase in costs having regard to steps taken outside the UDRP.

The Framework also reports on a fascinating study about “typosquatting”. Apparently, about 80% of the sample misspelt domain names resolved to pay-per-click advertising sites.

“Industry sources” reported to ICANN that it costs a company between US$6,000 and %15,000 p.a. to monitor each trade mark that is being protected. [What monitoring activities are your clients spending that money on?]

There is lots more fascinating detail in the Economic Framework document in particular.

Harvard Bus School on the impact of file sharing

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Felix Oberholzer-Gee at Harvard and Koleman Strauss at Uni. of Kansas take an empirical look at the effect of file sharing on copyright industries.

They accept that file sharing has weakened copyright protection (although they are quite sceptical about the studies trying to prove this). They argue this is only part of the question, however, for policy-makers. They contend that, if the role of copyright is to provide incentives to create new works, it is necessary to look rather more widely.

For example, they note:

  • the publishing of new books increased by 66%
  • the number of new albums released more than doubled;
  • the number of feature films produced has increased by 30%,

in the early years of the 21st century.

They also note that revenues from concert sales and merchandising and the like has also increased.

Exploring this, their tentative conclusion for policymakers:

The role of complements makes it necessary to adopt a broad view of markets
when considering the impact of file sharing on the creative industries. Unfortunately, the
popular press – and a good number of policy experts – often evaluate file sharing looking
at a single product market. Analyzing trends in CD sales, for example, they conclude that
piracy has wrecked havoc on the music business. This view confuses value creation and
value capture. Record companies may find it more difficult to profitably sell CDs, but
the broader industry is in a far better position. In fact, it is easy to make an argument that
the business has grown considerably.

The role of complements makes it necessary to adopt a broad view of markets when considering the impact of file sharing on the creative industries. Unfortunately, the popular press – and a good number of policy experts – often evaluate file sharing looking at a single product market. Analyzing trends in CD sales, for example, they conclude that piracy has wrecked havoc on the music business. This view confuses value creation and value capture. Record companies may find it more difficult to profitably sell CDs, but the broader industry is in a far better position. In fact, it is easy to make an argument that the business has grown considerably.

Download the pdf here.

Lid dip Joshua Gans