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[1] Intermediary Liability and Trade in Follow-on Innovation (with Alexander Cuntz)

J Cult Econ | VoxEU Column | EconomistTalkArt Blog | Spotify ArtLawPodcast | Talk Centre Photographie Genรจve

Intellectual property rights have changed the market value and direction of artistic innovation throughout art history, in particular when new creations built on the art of predecessors. In this paper, we test how changes in legal frameworks and litigation risks affected market value and commercial trade around artistic reuses in the figurative arts and the 'Appropriation Art' movement in particular. Appropriation artists borrow images from different sources and incorporate them into new, derivative works of art. By doing so, they risk infringing copyright but also put auction trade and artwork availability at litigation risk as liability can extend to market intermediaries, such as auction houses, museums, or galleries. Using a differences-in-differences model and large-scale online data, we investigate the causal impact of the prominent \textit{Cariou v. Prince} U.S. higher court decision on intermediary trade and the availability of artworks on sale in the Appropriation Art. As an exogenous shock, this decision changed the perceived litigation risk for market intermediaries around what constitutes fair use. Following the court decision, we find a temporary decline in the total number of global auctions in the Appropriation Art, a lower sales probability of these artworks, and a relocation of related auctions to non-U.S. houses. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10824-023-09470-1

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[1] Digitization and Availability of Artworks in Online Museum Collections (with Alexander Cuntz and Paul J. Heald)

WIPO Economic Working Paper No. 75 | VoxEU Column

We provide quantitative evidence from museum collections about how copyright status affects the availability of digital images of artworks. The paper applies a regression discontinuity and differences-in-differences design to estimate online availability of artworks from U.S. collections on digital-platforms. We find a strong increase in the availability of digital surrogates when copyright is perceived to expire and original artworks are likely to transition to the public domain. Moreover, artworks and surrogates made available see a large number of downstream reuses based on google image search data, which indicates online availability is of commercial and public value independent of right status. Notably, we show that upstream surrogates of public domain artworks made available by museums are positively correlated with higher image resolution quality as compared to digitized artworks still protected under copyright laws. At the same time, it seems expressed industry norms can help encourage U.S. museums to also make low-resolution surrogates of copyrighted artworks available.

[2] Ars longa, vita brevis: The death of the creator and the impact on exhibitions and auction markets (with Alexander Cuntz)

WIPO Economic Wokring Paper No. 76 | EconomistTalkArt Blog

This paper studies the death effect on artists' exhibitions and commercial success in the secondary art market. Based on a random sample of 1'000 popular artists born after the turn of the 20th century, we construct a novel panel data set of their worldwide exhibition history and auction transactions. By applying a regression discontinuity and event-study design, we find an overall negative effect of artist death on exhibition outcomes. However, this post-mortem effect disappears in longer term. Roughly ten years after death, exhibitions are back to pre-death levels. Arguably, transaction cost and higher auction prices after death also temporarily increase the average cost of exhibiting artworks, e.g. higher market valuation raises (unobserved) insurance cost for exhibitions. Hedonic auction price models confirm this intuition and suggest a significant price premium posthumously. We find substantial heterogeneity in the treatment depending on the age and reputation of the artist at death. Overall findings explain important mechanisms for the post mortem value of artistic work and have policy implications for the creative sectors, cultural preservation and legacy stewardship.

[3] IP assets and film finance - a primer on standard practices in the U.S. (with Alexander Cuntz, Prince Oguguo, and Alessio Muscarnera)

WIPO Economic Working Paper No. 74 | VoxEU Column

This paper offers a primer on the basic economics of film finance and standard practices in the U.S. movie industry. It takes the U.S. movie industry as a case in point to study how excess risk and uncertainty around financing new projects are processed and managed by private sector entities and what market-based solutions are developed to prevent market failure. The paper summarizes the most common types of financial deals on the ground and reoccurring funding sources for new content production and distribution in the past twenty years. In particular, this research discusses the prominent role of intellectual property (IP) in financial transactions in the audiovisual sector. Research findings are based on a series of semi-structured interviews, commissioned expert memoranda, and a dedicated panel held with selected industry experts in November 2022. In addition, we conduct exploratory analysis and provide descriptive evidence on credit and intangible collateral use in the industry using data from Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) filings and official IP registers. In light of the digital transformation of the audiovisual sector, the research documents industry trends and the most recent changes in the financing of U.S. film. We conclude with an outline of generic policy options for an upgrade of the financing environment in the U.S. and beyond.

[4] COVID-19 impact on artistic income (with Alexander Cuntz)

Covid Economics 82, 23 June 2021: 49-69. Issue 82.

This paper assesses the impact of the pandemic crisis on self-employed income among artists resident in Germany. Using unique data from the latest available public insurance records, we show that musicians and performing artists are among the most vulnerable groups, and that writers, on average, are relatively less impacted. Moreover, the paper looks at the impact of the 2020 crisis on income differences by gender, career stages and regions, and it investigates the effect of specific non-pharmaceutical, public intervention implemented in German states.

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[1] Resilience and Ingenuity: Global Innovation Responses to Covid-19, CEPR Press, London (edited by Carsten Fink, Yann Mรฉniรจre, Andrew Toole, and Reinhilde Veugelers)


Cuntz, A and M Sahli (eds), Resilience and Ingenuity: Global Innovation Responses to Covid-19, CEPR Press, London. https://cepr.org/chapters/covid-19-impact-artistic-income-evidence-germany