Copyright, Copy Protection and Feist

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Modern consumers of intellectual property, and especially software, find that the products they buy are protected by ever more sophisticated forms of copy protection. This occurs despite the presence of legislative protection. The economics literature within the area has begun to take note, yet there has been very little formal modelling to date. This paper sets up a model for analyzing the impact of alternative forms of copy protection on works subject to copyright protection. It outlines a model of intellectual property creation with endogenous protection choice as well as legislative copyright and examines the welfare implications. It also relates the results to two court cases and discusses the impact they may have on future copyright law.