Should it be copyright's role to fill houses with books?

Rebecca Giblin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


Proposed copyright reforms are typically situated as being pro-user/anti-author (or vice versa). When it comes to making normative judgments about how far copyright rights ought to extend however, we need to ask more than whether a change might make one or another interest worse off. Since copyright isn't zero sum, we need to ask who loses *how much* in exchange for who gaining *what*. This is particularly important when considering normative questions relating to copyright's role in human and economic development, which are regaining urgency as the marginal cost of copying continues to drop for the world's least advantaged populations, increasing the deadweight loss attributable to copyright.

This paper adapts a Rawlsian conception of the public interest to develop an objective framework that can enable more nuanced evaluation of the merits and demerits of global copyright policy proposals. By refocusing the debate from what is being won and lost by individual stakeholders towards the broader possibilities enabled by digital abundance, it shines fresh light on copyright's potential to help vulnerable people live a 'good life', lift populations out of poverty and stimulate fresh creation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntellectual Property and the Regulation of the Internet
EditorsSusy Frankel, Daniel Gervais
Place of PublicationWellington New Zealand
PublisherVictoria University Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9781776560998
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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