Copyright and structure of authors’ earnings

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By Eckhard Höffner, from the 2009 Bournemouth University Symposium on Copyright, Contracts and Creativity
http://www.cippm.org.uk/symposia/symposium-2009.html

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Copyright and structure of authors’ earnings

  1. 1. Background FindingsAverage author and copyright Copyright andstructure of authors’ earnings Eckhard Hö ner Copyright, Contracts and Creativity Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  2. 2. Background Reasons for the study Findings Statistical base Average author and copyrightEconomic assumptions Intellectual property rights o er an incentive for the production of knowledge and other public goods. Exclusive rights result in higher authors’ earnings, hence more new books written and published. A theory which is not at least in some extent re ected in reality is worthless how evident the theory may appear. A comparison between a system with and without IPR is missing. Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  3. 3. Background Reasons for the study Findings Statistical base Average author and copyrightEconomic assumptions Intellectual property rights o er an incentive for the production of knowledge and other public goods. Exclusive rights result in higher authors’ earnings, hence more new books written and published. A theory which is not at least in some extent re ected in reality is worthless how evident the theory may appear. A comparison between a system with and without IPR is missing. Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  4. 4. Background Reasons for the study Findings Statistical base Average author and copyrightEconomic assumptions Intellectual property rights o er an incentive for the production of knowledge and other public goods. Exclusive rights result in higher authors’ earnings, hence more new books written and published. A theory which is not at least in some extent re ected in reality is worthless how evident the theory may appear. A comparison between a system with and without IPR is missing. Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  5. 5. Background Reasons for the study Findings Statistical base Average author and copyrightEconomic assumptions Intellectual property rights o er an incentive for the production of knowledge and other public goods. Exclusive rights result in higher authors’ earnings, hence more new books written and published. A theory which is not at least in some extent re ected in reality is worthless how evident the theory may appear. A comparison between a system with and without IPR is missing. Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  6. 6. Background Reasons for the study Findings Statistical base Average author and copyrightSystems with and without e ective IPR Great Britain – Statute of Anne: / years copyright from the time of the rst publication. – e e ect of Statute of Anne was extended to Ireland. – Prolongation of copyright duration to years or lifetime of the author. Germany e Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation was divided in over states (having legislative power). – Napoleonic Wars. – German Confederation consisting of states. No wars for half a century. Pirate publishing was virtually allowed. Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  7. 7. Background Reasons for the study Findings Statistical base Average author and copyrightSystems with and without e ective IPR Great Britain – Statute of Anne: / years copyright from the time of the rst publication. – e e ect of Statute of Anne was extended to Ireland. – Prolongation of copyright duration to years or lifetime of the author. Germany e Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation was divided in over states (having legislative power). – Napoleonic Wars. – German Confederation consisting of states. No wars for half a century. Pirate publishing was virtually allowed. Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  8. 8. Background Reasons for the study Findings Statistical base Average author and copyrightPopulation Great Britain (wealthy country) – . millions – millions ( living in towns) – millions (incl. Ireland) Germany (poor country) – millions – millions ( living in towns) – millions Ability to buy and read books. Despite a larger population it is not obvious, that in Germany more people (in numbers) could a ord books than in Great Britain. Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  9. 9. Background Reasons for the study Findings Statistical base Average author and copyrightPopulation Great Britain (wealthy country) – . millions – millions ( living in towns) – millions (incl. Ireland) Germany (poor country) – millions – millions ( living in towns) – millions Ability to buy and read books. Despite a larger population it is not obvious, that in Germany more people (in numbers) could a ord books than in Great Britain. Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  10. 10. Background Reasons for the study Findings Statistical base Average author and copyrightPopulation Great Britain (wealthy country) – . millions – millions ( living in towns) – millions (incl. Ireland) Germany (poor country) – millions – millions ( living in towns) – millions Ability to buy and read books. Despite a larger population it is not obvious, that in Germany more people (in numbers) could a ord books than in Great Britain. Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  11. 11. Background Reasons for the study Findings Statistical base Average author and copyrightNew released titles 13000 12000 11000 10000 9000 German book fairs 8000 7000 6000 Estimates 5000 4000 3000 2000 Great Britain 1000 70 80 0 00 10 20 30 40 50 60 9 17 17 17 18 18 18 18 18 18 18 Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  12. 12. Background Reasons for the study Findings Statistical base Average author and copyrightObvious discrepancy Great Britain Wealthy and most advanced country. Low numbers of new titles. Regressive development. Germany Poor country with a high numbers of new titles. Dynamic development. Without IPR more new books were published. What can be said about authors’ earnings? Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  13. 13. Background Reasons for the study Findings Statistical base Average author and copyrightObvious discrepancy Great Britain Wealthy and most advanced country. Low numbers of new titles. Regressive development. Germany Poor country with a high numbers of new titles. Dynamic development. Without IPR more new books were published. What can be said about authors’ earnings? Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  14. 14. Background Reasons for the study Findings Statistical base Average author and copyrightObvious discrepancy Great Britain Wealthy and most advanced country. Low numbers of new titles. Regressive development. Germany Poor country with a high numbers of new titles. Dynamic development. Without IPR more new books were published. What can be said about authors’ earnings? Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  15. 15. Background Types of contracts Findings Earnings Average author and copyrightDi erent contract types Great Britain Outright sale of rights (most common, esp. Grub Street authors) Commission (o en since ) Sale of rights by edition (seldom) Pro t sharing (seldom) Self-Publication, Subscription (academic books) Germany – Payment by sheet (buy out). – Self-Publication (with and without subscription). – – Payment by sheet and edition. Bestsellers were reprinted by several publishers (only one was paying the author). Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  16. 16. Background Types of contracts Findings Earnings Average author and copyrightDi erent contract types Great Britain Outright sale of rights (most common, esp. Grub Street authors) Commission (o en since ) Sale of rights by edition (seldom) Pro t sharing (seldom) Self-Publication, Subscription (academic books) Germany – Payment by sheet (buy out). – Self-Publication (with and without subscription). – – Payment by sheet and edition. Bestsellers were reprinted by several publishers (only one was paying the author). Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  17. 17. Background Types of contracts Findings Earnings Average author and copyrightAverage incomes per year Great Britain – – subsistence: – – academic middle class: – – academic middle class: – – academic middle class: – Germany – – subsistence: – Taler – academic middle class: – Taler – – academic middle class: – Taler Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  18. 18. Background Types of contracts Findings Earnings Average author and copyrightAverage incomes per year Great Britain – – subsistence: – – academic middle class: – – academic middle class: – – academic middle class: – Germany – – subsistence: – Taler – academic middle class: – Taler – – academic middle class: – Taler Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  19. 19. Background Types of contracts Findings Earnings Average author and copyrightGermany Germany Until – Authors’ earnings have been poor. – Reprinting era: Honoraries were increasing from day to day (J. G , ). – ere are so many poor books, because authors can live from writing (A. . K ). – Some booksellers from Leipzig have raised payments six times more than it was the average (J. G. H ). Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  20. 20. Background Types of contracts Findings Earnings Average author and copyrightEarnings of authors Great Britain Bestsellers (less than ) could earn a fortune. A slightly larger group (e.g. Wordsworth or Austen) did receive an income similar to a gentleman for a book (not on the long term). For an average author an honorary of was already a nancial success. Germany Due to the strong competition during the reprinting era ( – ), an e cient book industry was established with increasing author fees, a variety of novelties, e cient sales and low priced current books. – e increase of average payments was smaller. Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  21. 21. Background Types of contracts Findings Earnings Average author and copyrightEarnings of authors Great Britain Bestsellers (less than ) could earn a fortune. A slightly larger group (e.g. Wordsworth or Austen) did receive an income similar to a gentleman for a book (not on the long term). For an average author an honorary of was already a nancial success. Germany Due to the strong competition during the reprinting era ( – ), an e cient book industry was established with increasing author fees, a variety of novelties, e cient sales and low priced current books. – e increase of average payments was smaller. Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  22. 22. Background Types of contracts Findings Earnings Average author and copyrightStrahan and Cadell (example) Great Britain Author Date Honorary total books (Strahan) – approx. William Robertson , William Buchan Henry Mackenzie – John Hawkesworth Lord Kames Adam Smith – (– ?) Adam Ferguson Robert Watson Hugh Blair Robert Henry rest approx. authors , Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  23. 23. Background Types of contracts Findings Earnings Average author and copyrightGermany Germany – Payment per sheet Date One edition until books, ½– Taler – – Taler -½ Taler known authors – Taler average – – , Taler average – – Taler known authors – – Taler average – – Taler known authors Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  24. 24. Background Findings Average author and copyrightComparison Great Britain Germany e average payment for a e average payment for a book was about a tenth of book was about a quarter the yearly income of an up to an half of the yearly academic member of the income of an academic middle class. member of the middle Very few books were class. published and written Many books on any topics (mostly classical canon and were written, published novels). and paid. Copyright was not trivial, but harmed the average author. Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  25. 25. Background Findings Average author and copyrightComparison Great Britain Germany e average payment for a e average payment for a book was about a tenth of book was about a quarter the yearly income of an up to an half of the yearly academic member of the income of an academic middle class. member of the middle Very few books were class. published and written Many books on any topics (mostly classical canon and were written, published novels). and paid. Copyright was not trivial, but harmed the average author. Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings
  26. 26. Background Findings Average author and copyrightere is no money in thatGreat Britain» ere is lifelong penury in it : starvation : suicide : a debtor’s prison :hard and grinding work for miserable pay : a cruel task-master : workdone to order paid for by the yard. As for the wished-for life amongbooks, these unfortunate poets could not a ord to buy books : as forfreedom, quiet, ease, they never had any at all. Even the joy ofcomposition, which one would think could not be taken from them,they could never enjoy, because they wrote to order and what theywere told to write : they were paid servants : they lived in a garret :they never rose out of poverty and misery : they were buried in thepaupers’ corner.«W B (founder and chairman from the SA in till ). Eckhard Höffner Structure of authors’ earnings

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