Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Copyright and the Public Domain

Kris Erickson, University of Glasgow, Paul J. Heald, University of Illinois College of Law, Fabian Homberg, University of Zurich, Institute for Organization and Administrative Science, Martin Kretschmer, University of Glasgow, and Dinusha Mendis, Bournemouth University, are publishing Copyright and the Value of the Public Domain: An Empirical Assessment as an Intellectual Property Office Research Paper 2015. Here is the abstract.

The purpose of this research study is 1) to map the size of the public domain and frequency of its use; 2) analyse the role of public domain works in value creation for UK businesses; 3) assist creators and entrepreneurs to identify business models that benefit from the public domain. In addition to these outputs, the intellectual contribution of this project was to arrive at a sufficiently precise definition of the public domain to permit measurement of its value, and secondly, to critically appraise theories of creativity and innovation that explain how value might be generated from non-exclusive use of ideas and works available to all. The non-rival, non-excludable nature of the public domain would seem to limit its appeal to creators in a competitive market. Any observed commercial uptake of public domain material consequently raises important questions: What stimulates creators to invest in transforming or re-publishing public domain works? How do firms gain and sustain competitive advantage when exploiting freely available public domain materials? Finally, what policy options are available to promote market uptake of public domain materials, and what are the likely impacts?

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

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