Martin Kretschmer in the Financial Times

Professor Kretschmer, Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management at Bournemouth University (BU) has commented in the Financial Times in a full page analysis article on rent-seeking.

The article titled ‘Barriers to break through’ discusses economic rents arising from legal monopolies, such as a limited number of taxi licences, or extended periods of copyright protection. Rents allow some to grow rich at the expense of others, and create an incentive to devote resource to lobbying in pursuit of such rents. On copyright, the article says:

“Martin Kretschmer, a law professor at Bournemouth University in England, helped to fight a losing battle against a colossal creation of rents in Europe last year: the extension of copyright on recorded music from 50 to 70 years. The new law transfers €1bn out of the pockets of European consumers and into those of music companies and ageing rock stars.”

“The social argument for copyright is that it gives an incentive for artists to create work. But, as Mr Kretschmer says, ‘the fact that the extension was retrospective gives the game away really’. The Beatles have already recorded Rubber Soul; another 20 years of royalties will not make them record it again. The consensus among academics who study the term of copyright that would best balance the interests of consumers and creators, he adds, is that ’14 years is not an unreasonable starting point’.”

‘Barriers to break through’, by Robin Harding, US economics editor, 23 February, p. 11: