The site suffered a nasty attack last week that took some time to resolve. If you run across any lingering problems, I’d welcome a note.
The site suffered a nasty attack last week that took some time to resolve. If you run across any lingering problems, I’d welcome a note.
Reposting a link to this piece in Ars Technica by Evelin Heidel, Ezequiel Martin Acuña, and me. Here’s how it wraps up:
The combination of wider distribution and lower pricing has also begun to influence practices of financing. “Right now, traders are becoming investors,” Moscoso said. “Large retailers are becoming producers, distributors are making movies, and thus they don’t depend only on the state to produce films. Here, making a movie used to be like climbing the Everest in flip-flops and a T-shirt. You had to be lucky if you wanted to show your movie in the cinema. You had to have contacts or come from a family with a good social position. If you didn’t have any of that, you’d be happy if you managed to get your film shown once at a cultural center. But now you have the option to sell it in markets and shopping centers, where it will continue to sell.” Continue reading
Still more recommendations from the 2013 Global Congress Research Survey, focusing on methodology, communications, and social movement issues. This is Part 5 of 5 (for now).
If you’d like to submit a couple paragraphs about research priorities, you can do so here. We’d be happy to publish Part 6, 7, etc..
Alek Tarkowski, Centrum Cyfrowe/ Creative Commons Polska / Communia, Poland
Strengthening economic research and tying it to social and cultural studies is an effort that is, in my opinion, crucial – and could for instance be addressed by a workshop-type interdisciplinary conference. Existing economic studies are useful and important (albeit nondecisive about key economic effects of either informal circulations or free / open content1 – but it rarely attempts to become engaged with social and cultural research. Access to data is obviously a challenge – in Poland a treasure-trove of data on informal practices is held by administrators of the “Chomikuj” file locker service – who will never make it available, as from a different perspective this might constitute proof in court…
Finally, as with any internet studies, methodologies still need to be developed, to provide in-depth understandings of use of content. Copyright, just like digital technologies, is a difficult matter, and thus not easily related by respondents in interviews, and even harder to understand through questionnaires.
Our community needs more opportunities to meet, and discuss in particular theoretical matters – it often feels like research is very policy oriented, which has the attached risk of being relatively shallow in terms of theory. Both researchers and activists would benefit not just from strong ties between research and activism or policy work, but also a strong shape of our research community itself. Continue reading
Another installment from the 2013 Global Congress Research Survey, focused on research priorities around creative industries, incentives, and changing cultural practices.
As always, if you’d like to submit a couple paragraphs about research priorities, you can do so here.
Christopher Sprigman, NYU, USA
We have largely one-size-fits-all IP law that treats a range of very different creative industries similarly. So copyright law imposes basically the same rules on software that it does for motion pictures. And patent law imposes basically the same rules on pharmaceuticals as it does on technologies in smartphones. I would like to see more studies focused on the innovation conditions in particular industries, aimed at understanding what the drivers of innovation are in those industries, and whether innovation in that particular setting thrives with more, less, or no IP protection. Understanding innovation better at the industry level would help us determine whether IP rules should be made more industry-specific, or whether the domain of IP law should be expanded or contracted.
Relatedly, I would like to see more research on the effect of IP rights on both competition and sequential innovation. We have a fair amount of economic theorizing on both, but relatively little empirical evidence regarding how IP shapes competition and sequential innovation in specific markets.
Joel Waldfogel, University of Minnesota, USA
One of my messages of late has been that, as important as piracy is, researchers should move beyond piracy and should instead ask the broader question relevant to whether copyright is working: in light of various different technological changes – some of which reduce revenue and other which reduce costs – what’s happening to the flow of new products. My own work is empirical using large-scale real world (as opposed to experimental1. The main challenge is generally getting access to such data, which exist but are often expensive. Continue reading
Welcome to part three of our series of comments on ‘research priorities,’ drawn from the 2013 Global Congress Research Survey. This section focuses mostly on patents, health, and trade issues.
As before, if you’d like to submit a couple paragraphs about research priorities for the field, here’s the place to do so. We’ll publish them back out.
Amy Kapczynski, Yale Law School, USA
I think we need more serious conceptualization of the commons and of public alternatives to the market. Studies of actual existing innovation schemes — in the commons, or public — that work and that conceptualize why sharing is important are high priorities, as well as work that explores how to deal w/ the flaws of these modes (insularity, waste, political interference1. Also, there needs to be more work on local IP law, and implementation of international agreements locally. We are better at the international scale because it’s easier to access.
Jorge Contreras, American University, USA
There is a need for good empirical work that quantifies the impact of patenting structures on innovation and welfare across different jurisdictions. Do more or fewer patents fuel innovation? What is the impact of patent litigation on innovators? Are there migrations of talent, capital or funding across borders based on patent issuance or litigation?
Arlene Zank, Way Better Patents, USA
Significant effort needs to be dedicated to patent quality research and the dynamics of the patent marketplace. There are several “urban legend” patent studies that are informing policy discussions – the James Bessen and Michael Meurer work on the impact of non-practicing entities, Colleen Chien on patent litigation, for example. These studies are based on a proprietary dataset developed by a firm that stands to benefit from results of the study. More high-quality scientific examination of these types of findings is needed. Researchers and investigators need to see if they can replicate the results of these studies independently and document the quantitative and economic methods for measuring the impact of NPEs.
An extension of work done on the impact of asymmetric information in patent licensing discussions is needed. Earlier work by Mark Lemly and others that discuss the economic impact of the lack of information transparency on patent licensing discussions warrants significant academic scrutiny. Along the same lines, the impact of private transfer of intellectual property (or more accurately the transfer of IP in private1 should be examined in light of the disclosure requirements for patents. Continue reading
This is the second set of comments reported out from the research survey. Here the comments focus primarily on research priorities around copyright reform, users’ rights, and enforcement.
Part 1 provides an explanation of the survey and selection principles, plus some overview comments.
Part 3 looks at patents, health, and trade.
Part 4 explores creative economies and practices.
Part 5 looks at issues of capacity, communication, and history in the field.
As before, if you want to submit a couple paragraphs about research priorities for the field, here’s the place to do so. We’ll publish them back out.
Pedro Paranagua, FGV, Brazil; Duke Law; House of Representatives, Brazil
Reframing exceptions and limitations to copyright as users’ rights should be the top target globally. The Marrakesh VIP Treaty is a good starting point. Among other issues, I’d also highlight net neutrality and Internet governance, for we are about to lose the Internet to the telcos, which would represent the end of the Arab Spring, and of a much freer society globally.
Network collaboration is essential. The greater collaboration between academics, NGOs and government officials since the passage of TRIPs has substantially increased the capacity of all players to learn and influence policy, both nationally and globally. I strongly suggest that these networks continue to be strengthened via regional and global conferences, and also via collaborative research projects, aimed at influencing public policy nationally and globally.
Carolina Botero, Karisma Foundation, Colombia
The Colombian debate on freedom of expression on the Internet is in its infancy, characterized by a mid-stream shift from traditional to digital and internet media, and a range of restrictive Internet proposals driven by the new Free Trade Agreement with the US—especially but not limited to the blocking and removal of content. We want to find means to support regional community media to advocate for their right to freedom of expression in view of these regulatory risks.
Given Colombia’s history with drugs and “terrorism” and the fact that it is surrounded by the “socialism of the XXI century”, there are multiple stakeholders pushing to expand the digital security state, including expanded surveillance measures across all areas of Colombian society. There is an urgent need to build capacity within civil society to monitor and intervene in these developments. Continue reading
Between July and September, 2013, The American Assembly surveyed members of the ‘Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest’ community to learn more about their research and priorities. We invited responses from anyone who had either been to a Global Congress, been invited, or expressed interest in coming to one–a total of around 600 people. We received around 90 responses.
While the responses aren’t a representative sample of the community’s views on these issues, they make for interesting reading and are well worth a look for those interested in the intersection of research and IP policymaking. Broadly speaking, they describe a community focused on understanding how innovation systems for science and culture work, from rights and incentives to enforcement and changing cultural practices.
Rather than attempt a synthesis of the responses, we’ve decided to present this material in two ways.
First, we’re publishing edited and–in some cases–revised responses that offered relatively detailed accounts of the field or specific recommendations for future research. The first of 4-5 installments is below.
Second, we’ve built a database with the information that respondents shared about their current projects and research plans, sortable by topic and geographical focus.
The goal isn’t full representation of the community (however one might define it1 or an authoritative list of its priorities, but simply sharing back as many of the detailed suggestions and insights as we can.
If this process is useful to people, we can think about doing it again (and making it better and more inclusive1 ahead of the next Global Congress. If you didn’t participate but want to share a few paragraphs about research needs, here’s the place to do so. If we receive a bunch of new ones, we’ll publish them.
Thanks again to those who participated. Continue reading
Cross posted on China Law Blog.
Part 1: The Ancient History of the DVD is here.
Part 2: Who Wants What is here.
I won’t pretend any expertise on Hollywood-China film politics, but it does sound like it would make for a fantastic dark comedy. The story would certainly include the profit-sharing agreements whereby Chinese firms are the overwhelming beneficiaries of Hollywood’s growing popularity. It would include the endless, conflicted efforts of government distributors and censors to damage the Hollywood golden goose in the name of Chinese culture, by suddenly yanking Hollywood hits out of theaters, releasing them on the same day, or bowdlerizing them into (even more) incoherent messes. It would include the endless variety of Hollywood efforts to appease these capricious gods, whether by throwing Chinese actors into weird extra scenes for Chinese releases, stripping films of Chinese bad guys, launching joint ventures with Chinese princelings, or—allegedly—paying bribes for valuable exhibition slots, which the SEC is now investigating. Although some Chinese players probably benefit by keeping Hollywood guessing, one should assume that such privileges will eventually find their price. Continue reading
Again, this is jointly posted with China Law Blog.
Part 1: ‘The Ancient History of the DVD’ is here.
Part 3: ‘Forget it, Jack, it’s Chinatown’ is here.
Although we initially approached piracy an intellectual property issue, we ended up spending a lot of time on the determinants of price and availability in legal markets, and so on questions of media ownership and market structure. And when we looked at these, it was clear that the structural issue that mattered most was the extent to which legal and cultural barriers sheltered domestic studios and distributors from Hollywood. Outside India and China, there were very few successful domestic film industries. Once vibrant examples—in Europe of course, but also Mexico, Russia, and Japan—had become marginal in their home markets and inconsequential abroad. There are many reasons for this decline. Hollywood’s mastery of widely-accessible spectacle is a big part of it, of course. But so too is the advantage of operating from a rich home market, with stronger investment infrastructure and the ability to amortize production costs. So too is its much more effective control of the rest of the system, from saturation advertising, to the control or manipulation of distribution networks, to the capture of legislation, trade negotiations and state subsidy programs, to an ability to capitalize on the economic volatility of developing-world economies, which has periodically decimated local film industries. The Hollywood studios do all of this better than anyone else. Whether Transformers 4 is any good or not is very unlikely to matter. Continue reading
Dan Harris at China Law Blog invited me to write a post about the launch of the Chinese translation of Media Piracy in Emerging Economies. There is no China chapter in the report, but of course there are numerous China connections and parallels. Here’s an attempt to explore those connections, in three parts. Part 1 sets up the pricing argument that will be familiar to MPEE aficionados.
Part 2: What Everyone Wants, gets into film exhibition and market protection.
Part 3: Forget it, Jack, it’s Chinatown, discusses the politics and future of Hollywood in China.
Our headline finding is pretty simple: developing-world piracy is driven by high media prices, low incomes, and cheap digital technologies—and has not been significantly impacted by scaled-up enforcement. This is the sort of statement that’s obvious in most developing countries but that is still off limits in most international IP policy conversations, which are driven by the big copyright trade associations—the MPAA, BSA, IFPI, and so on. As a result, we have a policy debate focused single-mindedly on strengthening enforcement. But in our view, if you’re really concerned about piracy, you need to ask which of those other things will change: prices, incomes, or cheap tech? “Income” is a fine long-term answer in some countries but the realistic short-term answer—the one that rights holders can actually do something about—is “prices.” Let’s take the example of DVD piracy. Continue reading