Copyright Evidence Wiki December 2018 Round-Up

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This is the second of a series of summary posts rounding-up new entries to the Copyright Evidence Wiki (organised thematically). As part of CREATe’s workstream for the AHRC Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre, the Wiki catalogues empirical studies on copyright. This month, we summarise new studies added to the database under the themes of: Platform Regulation; Copyright in Courts; Copyright and Libraries; Perceptions of Copyright, and; Open Source.

Platform Regulation

An assessment of YouTube’s Content ID by Jacques, Garstkam, Hvidd and Street (2018) confirms that the number of takedowns on this platform have doubled between 2013 and 2016, most of which is attributable to the Content ID mechanism. The authors find that the base functionality of the Content ID algorithm (which relies on exact matches of audio and visual content) disproportionately removes parodies, of which it cannot interpret.

Similarly, Strzelecki (2018) assesses millions of URLs removed from Google and Bing due to copyright removal requests, finding that requests are implemented more often than not (91% for the former and 99.9% for the latter). Of these requests, only ten companies are responsible for 60% of removal requests, with specialist company AudioLock.Net being responsible for 28.1% of all reports sent to Google.

Copyright in Courts

On fair use, a study by Fuller and Abdenour (2018) demonstrates how US courts overwhelmingly favour a theory of “pure market substitution” in assessing this defence. The popularity of this theory casts doubt on whether courts are capable of embracing context-specific considerations in remix cultures, such as hip-hop and memes (which rely on overt creative borrowing).

Copyright and Libraries

Mwanza and Gichure (2018) find that copyright laws in Kenya represent a significant challenge for digitisation projects in libraries. Their findings, which primarily note that Kenyan libraries suffer from a lack of copyright expertise and administrative support for licensing issues, are echoed in an earlier study by Mathangani and Otike (2018).

Librarians may find that their confidence in copyright can greatly improve with a brief training session, as demonstrated by Benson (2018). Involving an experiment with training on fair use considerations, the study finds that even a three-hour expert-led session can double a librarian’s comprehension of copyright.

Perceptions of Copyright

A study by Lahsen and Piper (2018) confirms that there are no ascertainable well-being benefits to stronger intellectual property protection without some associated economic growth (at least in Latin America). Perceptions may vary from person to person depending on their labour status, with e.g. self-employed business owners and students in particular, negatively perceiving stronger protection.

Despite Confucianism’s association with low-uptake on copyright reform (see Yu (2014)), Wang and Sun (2018) find that a strong belief in the virtues of Confucianism (including benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom and faithfulness) actually supports the stronger protection of intellectual property rights. In a study of Chinese business owners, they confirm that perceived economic loss is a more valid explanatory factor to negative perceptions of intellectual property protection in China.

Open Source

Why do creators contribute to open source hardware? A study by Hausberg and Spaeth (2018) finds that enjoyment-based intrinsic motivations (such as intellectual curiosity) are among the most prominent motivational factors, as well as the capacity for reputation-gain. These findings may be particularly relevant for innovative business models in e.g. 3D printing.

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