Tom W. Bell (Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law) has posted Outgrowing Copyright: The Effect of Market Size on Copyright Policy on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
Does copyright protection offer the best means of stimulating the production of expressive works? Perhaps, at the moment, it does. If so, however, copyright protection will probably become inefficiently over-protective as the market for expressive works grows. With such growth, copyright holders will find it increasingly remunerative to focus on customers willing to pay a premium for particular expressive works. In a larger, more finely segmented market, copyright holders will find that their statutory rights generate larger monopoly rents. Yet copyright holders will suffer no corresponding increase in production or distribution costs; thanks to technological advances, we can expect those costs to continue to decline. The private benefits of copyright protection will rise. So, too, will its social costs. Holding all else equal, therefore, growth in the market for expressive works will make copyright policy inefficient. This paper explains that effect and discusses how policymakers should respond.