Copyright & Innovation: The Untold Story

Michael A. Carrier, a professor at Rutgers University School of Law in Camden, New Jersey has written an in-depth article addressing the many issues surrounding copyright and it’s impact on innovation.

The paper is titled ‘Copyright and Innovation: The Untold Story’ and you can download the full 63-page report here. Below, you can see Michael discussing how the record labels stifled innovation in music because they chose to pursue massive lawsuits rather than develop a digital distribution system for music. A sad fact about the music business that is now common knowledge.

Copyright has an innovation problem. Judicial decisions, private enforcement, and public dialogue ignore innovation and overemphasize the harms of copyright infringement. Just to pick one example, “piracy,” “theft,” and “rogue websites” were the focus of debate in connection with the PROTECT IP Act [PIPA] and Stop Online Piracy Act [SOPA]. But such a debate ignores the effect of copyright law and enforcement on innovation. Even though innovation is the most important factor in economic growth, it is difficult to observe, especially in comparison to copyright infringement.

This article addresses this problem. It presents the results of a groundbreaking study of 31 CEOs, company founders, and vice-presidents from technology companies, the recording industry, and venture capital firms. Based on in-depth interviews, the article offers original insights on the relationship between copyright law and innovation. It also analyzes the behavior of the record labels when confronted with the digital music revolution. And it traces innovators’ and investors’ reactions to the district court’s injunction in the case involving peer-to-peer [p2p] service Napster.

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