Immaterialgüter- und Wettbewerbsrecht

Evidence and Narrative in Copyright Law - Why a Treaty on the Public Domain Makes Sense

In recent times copyright law has been extended, globally, beyond an efficient threshold. Multilateral international treaties have raised the transaction costs to undo the status quo of copyright protection. Therefore, an international treaty on the public domain is advocated to mitigate the negative effects on welfare.

Letzte Änderung: 04.09.14

Economic theory has a rhetorical dimension, often neglected by economists. As a consequence a narrative has emerged that posits that more protection is correlated by more creativity. The narrative exploits an epistemological failure of neoclassical economic theory, an empirical deficit. This narrative has been manipulated by interest groups to obtain economic rents from extending copyright, quantitatively and qualitatively, without increasing creativity rates and negatively affecting welfare.

The proliferation of multilateral legal treaties extending copyright protection is one of its intended manifestations. Too many multilateral treaties establishing stronger and stronger copyright protection creates path dependency and raise the transaction costs of undoing the status quo.

In a digital economy restrictive copyright law based on an analogical productive paradigm negatively affects users, creators and competitors without incentivizing the creation of new works, i.e. a welfare loss. As a solution it's suggested to advance in the direction of a multilateral treaty establishing minimum levels of protection for the public domain (both originary and derivative, i.e. exceptions and limitations) to level the playing field. A public domain treaty will exploit existing flexibilities found in the global copyright legal corpus and finds moral support in WIPO's Development Agenda.

Additional Activities

Travel to Rome to give a lecture of Economic Analysis of Intellectual Property Law, Lights and Shadows (in Italian language) at the LLM in Competition and Innovation Law, Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali Guido Carli (LUISS).

Wrote a commentary on a criminal case decided by an Argentine Criminal Court of Appeal in relation to the criminality of the conduct of uploading and streaming copyrighted content on Youtube. To be published in the International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law (August-September 2014).



Maximiliano Marzetti


Dr. Kaya Köklü


Prof. Dr. Klaus Heine; Prof. Dr. Marco Lamandini


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