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The Costs of Copyright Protection

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Friday, 08 July 2011 05:04

Will the NYT ever include any economic analysis of the costs imposed on the economy by copyright enforcement? As a result of this form of protectionism, books, music, video material, computer software and other items that would otherwise be instantly available at zero cost, instead can cost consumers large amounts of money. This dwarfs the economics costs that result from most forms of trade protection, which rarely raises the price of items by more than 10-20 percent. 

This article on efforts by Internet providers to crack down on unauthorized duplication of copyrighted material would have benefited from some economic analysis.

Comments (6)Add Comment
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written by Moopheus, July 08, 2011 6:42
That's easy for someone to say when their work is funded by research grant money. Are you giving away your own books? If you really think that these things should be available at zero cost to consumer, you have it in your power to make it so. Put links to your free, non-DRM controlled ebooks here.
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written by foosion, July 08, 2011 7:31
>>Will the NYT ever include any economic analysis of the costs imposed on the economy by copyright enforcement.>>

No. It's not in their economic interests to do so.

@moopheus - we need the economic analysis to understand the issues. What the ideal policy may be is another matter.
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written by Moopheus, July 08, 2011 10:14
Foosian--If we need analysis, I am not the one who is doing without--Mr. Baker says that copyright protection is a "form of protectionism" for "material . . that would otherwise be instantly available at zero cost." And I say that if he thinks that copyright protection is bad and zero cost books are good, then he should put up or shut up.
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written by nibblewit, July 08, 2011 10:42
Dean, come on, you are using precisely the same kind of rhetorical trick that you criticize daily in others. Yes, copyright is "protectionism" just as the debt ceiling is an "accounting trick." You propose a direct subsidy / voucher system to pay artists, but that is a "what have you done for me lately" approach to supporting culture. You do not describe how artists discount cash flows so that their artistic failures don't discredit them, and thus you are ignoring an important and difficult part of the creative process that copyright works (inefficiently) to address.
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written by liberal, July 08, 2011 1:37
moopheus wrote,
And I say that if he thinks that copyright protection is bad and zero cost books are good, then he should put up or shut up.


I can't get the link button to work, and I don't know the non-HTML markup language here, but go to www dot conservativenannystate dot org.
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written by cartias, July 08, 2011 10:14
Dean you need to see The World according to Monsanto . The free marketers are full of hypocrisy

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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