Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Barker on Google's Claims to Expand Copyright Exceptions in the Australian Copyright Regime

George Robert Barker, Australian National University ANU College of Law, Centre for Law and Economics; Law and Economics Consulting Associates Ltd; UCL Centre for Law, Economics and Society has published Claims to Expand Copyright Exceptions Driven by 'Bad Science.' Here is the abstract.

This report reviews a number of papers being used to try and justify major copyright policy changes in Asia Pacific. Specifically, this reports reviews five papers cited by Google in Australia in support of its submission (the Submission) to the Productivity Commission's (PC) inquiry into Australia's intellectual property arrangements. In the Submission, Google expressed the view that Australia's copyright system is not as effective, efficient or adaptive as it needs to be, and that it is impeding Australia┬╣s capacity to innovate. Our review of the empirical data Google cites, however, finds that in general, contrary to the claims that they are being used to support, these studies conclusions are bad science and offer no substantial empirical evidence of a causal link between broader copyright exceptions and productivity and economic growth. The studies cited in the Submission have been discredited, containing fundamental errors in empirical research, making them unfit for policy-making. Moreover, the evidence in the studies appears to contradict the claims made in the Submission. In particular: - The 2012 Singapore fair use study cited by Google suggests that US-style fair use exceptions in Singapore were associated with a fall in the rate of growth of copyright industries. Singaporean copyright industry revenue growth slowed from 14.16 per cent to around 6.68 per cent per annum after the introduction of fair use. -The 2012 Australian Lateral Economics Study cited by Google shows that fair use exceptions in the US are associated with a lower rate of growth of value-add in what it calls copyright exceptions industries in the US, compared the same industries in Australia. Thus, as a result of the empirical analysis contained herein, this report concludes that the argument advanced by the Submission that broader copyright exceptions will promote productivity and economic growth is not based on sound research.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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