How Copyright Keeps Works Disappeared.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A random sample of new books for sale on shows more books for sale from the 1880s than the 1980s. Why? This article presents new data on how copyright stifles the reappearance of works. First, a random sample of more than 2,000 new books for sale on is analyzed along with a random sample of almost 2,000 songs available on new DVDs. Copyright status correlates highly with absence from the Amazon shelf. Together with publishing business models, copyright law seems to deter distribution and diminish access. Further analysis of e Book markets, used books on, and the Chicago Public Library collection suggests that no alternative marketplace for out-of-print books has yet developed. Data from i Tunes and You Tube, however, tell a different story for older hit songs. The much wider availability of old music in digital form may be explained by the differing holdings in two important cases, Boosey & Hawkes v. Disney (music) and Random House v. Rosetta Stone (books).
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-866
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Empirical Legal Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014


  • Copyright
  • Book sales & prices
  • Sampling (Statistics)
  • Electronic books
  • Business models
  • Inc.


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