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Copyright and Creativity – Evidence from Italian Operas

Dec 2014
Working Paper
523
Petra Moser, Michela Giorcelli

This paper exploits variation in the adoption of copyright laws within Italy – as a result of Napoleon’s military campaign - to examine the effects of copyrights on creativity. To measure variation in the quantity and quality of creative output, we have collected detailed data on 2,598 operas that premiered across eight states within Italy between 1770 and 1900. These data indicate that the adoption of copyrights led to a significant increase in the number of new operas premiered per state and year. Moreover, we find that the number of high-quality operas also increased – measured both by their contemporary popularity and by the longevity of operas. By comparison, evidence for a significant effect of copyright extensions is substantially more limited. Data on composers’ places of birth indicate that the adoption of copyrights triggered a shift in patterns of composers’ migration, and helped attract a large number of new composers to states that offered copyrights.

Publication Keywords: 
Copyright
Intellectual Property
Creativity
Innovation
Music
Culture
Geographic Regions: