I’m at the IPSC at Depaul this week. I’m really enjoying the papers so far. I’ve got a few comments on Lydia Loren’s Aligning Incentives with Reality: Using Motivation for Creation to Shape the Scope of Copyright Protection, which I heard this morning.
Loren argues that there are many types of works that are now getting copyright protection that don’t necessarily need to be incentivized by it. For example, she doubts whether the Vatican needs copyright protection to be motivated to produce encyclicals, or emailers need such protection to induce their communications. She proposes “less robust, or ‘thin,’ copyright protection for those types of works that do not require the incentive of the copyright to be created and distributed.” She worries that unneeded protection may lead to overproduction of certain works–a concern I share. But her presentation led me to a few questions.
First, do we know that there is a direct relationship between copyrightability of a category of works and the quantity, dissemination, and quality of that category of works? Might we believe that a chain reaction of propertization actually impedes production? If we do, we might want more protection of overproduced works.