Remix Rights and Negotiations Over the Use of Copy-Protected Works

Joshua S. Gans

NBER Working Paper No. 20364
Issued in August 2014, Revised in June 2015
NBER Program(s):Law and Economics, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

This paper examines an environment where original content can be remixed by follow-on creators. The modelling innovation is to assume that original content creators and remixers can negotiate over the ‘amount’ of original content that is used by the follow-on creator in the shadow of various rights regimes. The following results are demonstrated. First, traditional copyright protection where the original content creators can block any use of their content provides more incentives for content creators and also more remixing than no copyright protection. This is because that regime incentivises original content creators to consider the value of remixing and permit it in negotiations. Second, fair use can improve on traditional copyright protection in some instances by mitigating potential hold-up of follow-on creators by original content providers. Finally, remix rights can significantly avoid the need for any negotiations over use by granting those rights to follow-on innovators in return for a set compensation regime. However, while these rights are sometimes optimal when the returns to remixing are relatively low, standard copyright protection can afford more opportunities to engage in remixing when remixing returns are relatively high.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20364

Published: Gans, Joshua S., 2015. "Remix rights and negotiations over the use of copy-protected works," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 76-83. citation courtesy of

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