Essays on the law and economics of copyright protection
This thesis consists of four essays titled "The Historical Law and Economics of the First Copyright Act", "Copyright Doctrines, Abstraction and Court Error", "Copyright Failure and the Protection for Tables and Compilations", and "Orphan Works, Abandonware and the Missing Market for Copyrighted Goods". The analytical methodology is characterised as law and economics, and additionally, two main themes are observable. One is the incorporation of historical record or analysis. This stems from the belief that good legal, as well as law and economic, analysis must not be devoid of its historical context. Therefore, an attempt is made to incorporate a historical perspective in every essay. The second observable theme is the emphasis on curbing the monopoly or market power of copyright owners, both in the descriptive and prescriptive senses. In the first two essays, statutory provisions and copyright doctrines are shown to have the intended effect of controlling the market power of copyright; in the last two essays, liability rule remedies are proposed as a possible solution to further reduce the welfare losses associated with copyright protection. Two general conclusions can be made. Copyright owners generally, and perhaps with the exception of databases, do not have strong market power for the reason that, since the first statutory copyright law and under various copyright doctrines, differentiated copyrighted works may be independently produced by other authors, thus giving rise to monopolistic competitive markets for copyrighted goods. The second conclusion is a normative one, namely that there are scopes for social welfare gain by protecting copyright, under certain situations, by a liability rule instead of the traditional property rule. Two specific situations are examined in this context: when the copyrighted work is a database, and when the copyrighted work is abandoned or orphaned.