A precondition of good empirical studies is the availability of data across the principal content media on such matters as the costs of production, marketing, and distribution; prices of products and quantities sold; ancillary sources of revenue for creators; consumption behavior; patterns of access including unauthorized access to copyrighted works; licensing terms and the efficacy of licensing arrangements; and the costs and efficacy of anti-piracy technologies and legal enforcement areas.
Collecting, organizing, and making such data amenable to systematic research represents a considerable challenge. Government-collected administrative data, although important and subject to improvement, are far more limited in the copyright than in the patent arena.
It is encouraging that the digital revolution, while transforming the conditions underlying the copyright system, also means that a wealth of information relevant to the functioning of the system is generated and stored routinely in the course of business—for example, purchases, licensing transactions, and website views among others. On the other hand, data about the creation, consumption and distribution of digital media reside largely in the hands of private entities whose incentives diverge from those of investigators. The first task of public and private grant-making organizations should be to cooperate in building a copyright data infrastructure by negotiating access to privately held high priority datasets, and financing their acquisition costs, where necessary.
The federal government can incrementally improve data collection from businesses and consumers by adding copyright-related questions to the regular surveys conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau and by encouraging donations, for example to the Bureau of Economic Affairs, of private sector business data. But the committee recommends consideration of a more ambitious approach. These agencies, together with the National Science Foundation, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and Copyright Office should study the advisability and feasibility