Essays on the Institutional Analysis of Copyright and Its Alternatives




Safner, Ryan

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Intellectual property rights are rapidly becoming one of the focal points of political and legal controversy in the 21st century. Copyright laws in particular have become a particularly salient issue due to recent legal developments and the explosion of technological developments that reduce the cost of copying expressive works. The fundamental dilemma is a free rider problem in creating expressive works, as once a work is produced, it is potentially accessible to everyone at low marginal cost, which dissipates the returns from producing in the first place. Copyright laws are intended to encourage the creation of expressive works by granting exclusion rights to prevent unauthorized users from accessing produced works, but the monopoly power engendered in these laws creates considerable costs. This dissertation compiles a series of three essays which aim to explore copyright laws – their function, evolution, and their alternatives – by using an institutional approach to the under lying problem of free riding in the production of expressive works.



Economics, Copyright, Institutions, Intellectual property, Law and economics, Public choice