I work for a very small company. My employer has sunk a whole crapload of money (programmer wages * multiple years of development = much money) into developing a "vertical market" application (i.e. something which is of high value to a specific business market and pretty much worthless to "the world in general"). Giving them only five years to try to recoup that initial outlay, let alone *gasp* turn a profit, would've caused them to never bother in the first place - causing at least 6 full-time jobs to never have been created.
I appreciate there were polls on these issues back in august, but I wasn't around then and those threads are now locked. If there's a more-appropriate place for me to voice these concerns, it's not immediately apparent.
peterbrett wrote:This thread was mostly aimed at discussing the article I linked, which considered the problem from a rather abstracted viewpoint, using things like mathematics and statistical economics. Your comments might be better addressed to the poll results thread, or possibly to a new one in this section.
s: There is an almost total lack of data which would allow us to estimate the elasticity of supply with respect to revenue.
gamma: Ghose, Smith, and Telang (2004) list a whole range of estimates for γ − 1 (all derived from Amazon) ranging from -0.834 to -0.952 with the best estimate being -0.871.
alpha: Estimating alpha is harder because of the paucity of data which would permit estimation of off-equilibrium points on the demand curve.
Given the uncertainty over the values of some of the variables it is important to derive optimal copyright term under a variety of scenarios to check the robustness of these results. Table 1 presents optimal term under a range of possible parameter values including those at the extreme of the ranges suggested above.
- Code: Select all
Cultural Decay Rate(%) Discount Rate(%) alpha Optimal Term
2.0 4 0.05 51.97
3.5 5 0.07 30.63
5.0 6 0.10 18.06
6.5 7 0.15 9.25
8.0 8 0.20 4.53
Table 1. Optimal Term Under Various Scenarios.
With variables at the very lower end of the spectrum (the first row) optimal term comes out at 52 years which is substantially shorter than authorial copyright term in almost all jurisdictions and roughly equal to the 50 years frequently afforded to neighbouring rights (such as those in recordings).
As this shows, the mode of the distribution is around 20 years and the median is just under 15 years. From the underlying cumulative distribution function we can calculate percentiles and find the 95th percentile at just under 31 years, the 99th percentile at 39 years and the 99.9th percentile at just over 47 years. This would suggest, that at least under the parameters ranges used here, one can be extremely confident that copyright term should be 50 years or less – and it is highly like that term is under 30 years (95th percentile).
1) Current copyright lengths are almost certainly too long
2) According to the model we can be extremely confident the the optimal copyright length is less than 50 years, it is highly likely that the optimal copyright length is less than 39 years, and it is probable that the optimal copyright length is less than 30 years.
3) An initial estimate of optimal copyright length is 15 years, but that estimate has a considerable error range, it's more like an estimate of 5 to 40 years.
4) Further work is required to improve the estimates of the key parameters to reduce the error range of the optimal copyright term.
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