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Copyright for the digital age — A call for legislative reversibility


Policymakers tend to adopt too narrow a view of the creative industries when determining the desirability of copyright protection. In these industries, authors will often create new works despite weak protection. As recent developments in the music industry illustrate, markets for complements alone can be sufficiently lucrative to entice artists to remain active even when copyright is seriously weakened. However, the value of complements is difficult to forecast. As a result, lawmakers will often set inappropriate copyright terms. In this note, I call for an approach to copyright legislation that makes it feasible to correct these unavoidable mistakes.


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Correspondence to Felix Oberholzer-Gee.

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This article closely follows the keynote address that I gave at the annual conference of the Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics in June 2011. I would like to thank Laura Vélez Villa for excellent research assistance.

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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Oberholzer-Gee, F. Copyright for the digital age — A call for legislative reversibility. Swiss J Economics Statistics 147, 417–425 (2011).

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