On this page we discuss two of the thinkers who have most influenced our own thinking, and include links to their homepages. We also discuss some of the concepts that are most important in the work we do. We hope they are interesting and edifying!
Arthur, W. Brian
External Professor, Santa Fe Institute and Visiting Researcher, Intelligent Systems Lab, PARC. A pioneer on the interaction of emerging technologies and economics. Dr. Arthur is particularly insightful regarding "network effects," and the manner in which they determine returns on investment ("increasing returns") and subsequent paths of technological development ("path dependence"). Author of The Nature of Technology: What It Is and How It Evolves (The Free Press, 2007), Increasing Returns and Path-Dependence in the Economy (University of Michigan Press, 1994), and co-editor of The Economy as an Evolving Complex System II. (Addison-Wesley, 1997), Population, Development and Food (Oxford University Press, 1988), and The Economic Consequences of Changing Age Distributions (Oxford University Press, 1987).
American copyright law is a legislative and judicial codification of a concept provided for in the United States Constitution. The constitutional language provides authors with a copyright interest in works they have created for a limited period of time so as to "promote the progress of science and useful arts." Under the terms of the copyright law, five distinct copyright interests are inherent in content: (i) reproduction; (ii) distribution; (iii) public performance; (iv) public display; and (v) creation of new content derived from original content ("derivative works").
Unlicensed reproduction, distribution, performance or display of copyrighted content. Or, the unlicensed creation of a derivative work. With certain limited exceptions (such as when content is in the "public domain," or when a reproduction, distribution, performance, display or derivative work is a "fair use"), lawful uses require the execution of a license agreement (either a "shrink-wrap" license, or a "click-through" license, or a signed license), and the payment of a license fee.
Copy Protection Technology
Content management tools (such as file encryption, digital fingerprinting, digital watermarking or digital distortion) that allow access to content, but attempt to prohibit it from being reproduced or accessed by unlicensed users. Arguably, copy protection technologies also reduce demand for, and consumption of, the protected content.
Digital Object Identifiers
Digital Object Identifiers may be developed and implemented by a single owner of copyrighted content, or on an industry-wide basis. Some popular industry-wide digital object identifiers (and the content to which they are applicable) include:
• ISBN Editions and iterations of textual content;
• ISWC Musical compositions, and arrangements thereof;
• ISRC Musical recordings;
• Ad-ID Audio and audio-visual advertising; and
• ISAN Audio-visual programming and advertising...
Typically, a unique identifier is assigned to each version or iteration of content; in some cases, different identifiers may be assigned to an identical piece of content in order to more efficiently analyze uses by different licensees or aggregators. In some cases industry-wide identifiers are assigned by an authority charged with responsibility of determining that each identifier is issued to a unique version or iteration of content; in other cases, identifiers are self-assigned by the content owner, which has been issued a block of codes by the appropriate authority. Work is underway to assign unique identifiers to bundles of content (such as a set of musical recordings sold on a single compact disk), to content licenses, and to territories to which content is licensed. As this work proceeds, it will be possible to automatically identify bundles of content (along with each copyright included within that bundle), and the territory and term for which the bundle has been licensed. Further information about digital object identifiers can be found at the website of the International Digital Object Identifier Foundation.
The delivery of content by its owner, or by a content aggregator, to its ultimate user. Distribution may require licenses for both reproduction rights and performance rights in the content. Distribution of content can arguably be limited by the use of a copy protection technology.
The limited legal right to reproduce, distribute, perform or display copyrighted content (or, to create a limited derivative work) in the course of "criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research." The fair use doctrine may also apply to certain reproductions of content for private use.
The tendency of a technology that controls a critical level of market share to benefit from increasing levels of profitability for a limited period of time. "Increasing returns" are the result of the technology's favorable "network effect" and "path dependence," with benefits accruing to:
• Owners of the technology, and of tools that make the technology
• Market participants that master the technology; and
• Content that utilizes the technology's capabilities.
The increase in value created by a technology as its acceptance and usage grows (for example, as a network is accessed by more users). Such increased value generally leads, in combination with "path dependence," to greater market share and "increasing returns."
Optimal Content Pricing
The maximization of the current value of content through the development of pricing models that encourage additional consumption of content, thereby increasing the current value of current and future revenue streams. Optimal content pricing is normally supported by the deployment of infrastructure (such as integrated publishing, licensing, reproduction and performance databases) that generates attractive returns on investment through lower "transactional costs," and more profitable pricing.
The tendency of a technology with a critical level of market share to influence the path of future technological development. The benefit realized by such a technology arises out of user familiarity and acceptance, and not always out of product superiority. (Classic examples are arguably the persistence of the "QWERTY" keyboard, and the triumph of the "VHS" videotape format over the "Betamax" format.) Such influence over future development generally leads, in combination with "network effects," to greater market share and "increasing returns."
The public performance of copyrighted content, regardless of whether or not the performance is for profit. Copyrighted content that may be the subject of a public performance include:
• Text (in which copyrights in a story, essay, narrative, poem, play,
script or screenplay may be involved);
• Music (in which copyrights in a musical composition, an arrangement
of that composition, or a musical recording may be involved);
• Graphics (in which copyrights in photography or graphical designs,
or in implementations of those photographs or designs, may be involved);
• Programming and advertising (in which copyrights in the script,
music or choreography may be involved, as well as the copyright
in the programming or advertising itself).
The status of content when it is not protected by copyright law, generally attributable to one of two factors:
• The expiration of the copyright in the original content, or in a copyrighted
version, iteration, edition, arrangement, recording or compilation of the
original content. While the duration of a copyright depends on various
factors (including the date on which the work was created, and the
identity of the current owner of the copyright), new works generally
extend for the life of the author plus 70 years, or for 95 years if the
copyright is not owned by a person.
• The fact that the content owner chooses not to enforce or renew
his or her copyright. Creators in this category form the nucleus of the
"open source" movement.
Publishing, Licensing, Reproduction and Performance Data
Relational databases containing data that, when compiled, provide valuable information about:
• The commonalities and differences among content licensed;
• The commonalities and differences among different licensees or
• The frequency and types of reproductions of licensed content;
• The frequency and types of performances of licensed content;
• The optimal pricing models under which the content
is licensed; and
• Infringing reproductions or performances that exceed the terms of
a particular license.
The copying of copyrighted content for the purpose of distribution, or incorporation into another piece of copyrighted content. The reproduction right applies to text, music, graphics, programming, advertising and data, and may involve the original copyrighted content, or a copyrighted version, iteration, edition, arrangement, recording or compilation of the original content. The right to reproduce a musical recording is called the master recording right. The right to reproduce a musical composition in audio programming is called the mechanical right; the right to reproduce a musical composition in audio-visual programming is called the synchronization right.
Thaler, Richard H.
Richard P. Gwinn Professor of Behavioral Science and Economics and Director of the Center for Decision Research, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago. Dr. Thaler is a pioneer in the field of behavioral finance, which focuses on efficiencies and inefficiencies in economic markets, and in the decision-making processes of their participants. Once identified, inefficiencies can be eliminated, or exploited by participants with superior knowledge. Author of The Winner's Curse: Paradoxes and Anomalies of Economic Life (Free Press, 1991) and Quasi-Rational Economics (Russell Sage Foundation, 1991), and editor of Advances in Behavioral Finance (Russell Sage Foundation, 1993)
The costs involved in negotiating a license covering copyrighted content. These costs can be considerable, depending on how many copyrights exist in a given piece of content, and on how motivated a copyright owner is to license its content.
The efficient compilation of publishing, licensing, reproduction and performance data for content, so that appropriate values can be assigned to each reproduction and performance without unnecessarily arbitrary or discriminatory allocations.
(Nothing on this website is intended to constitute economic or legal advice. Such advice can only be meaningful and reliable when received as part of an individual consultation with a qualified professional.)