Towards a Differentiated Products Theory of Copyright

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



The well-known “access-incentives” tradeoff that lies at the heart of the standard economic analysis of copyright follows largely from the assumption that copyright turns authors into monopolists. If one instead analyzes copyright through a framework that allows for product differentiation and entry, the access-incentives tradeoff becomes less significant. By increasing producer appropriability and profit, increased copyright protection can stimulate entry of competitors producing similar works, which in turn results in lower prices, increased product variety, and increased access. This approach would also broaden set of available policy instruments, although disentangling the effects of one from another can be quite complicated.


Copyright, intellectual property, law & economics, law & technology, law & business, law & communications, information law, government regulation, competition, imperfect substitutes, access, optimal incentives, demand diversion, remedial implications, right size, right intensity, right breadth

Publication Title

Developments in the Economics of Copyright

Publication Citation

In Developments in the Economics of Copyright 103 (Lisa N. Takeyama et al. eds., Edward Elgar 2005).