constitutes evidence for copyright policy? Such is the title of the upcoming
event at Bournemouth University as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science. While evidence in IP is a already a challenge, let's take a look a further look at evidence based policy (EBP). To start,
a handy definition: "...[EBP] mean(s) that policy initiatives are
to be supported by research evidence and that policies introduced on a trial
basis are to be evaluated in as rigorous a way as possible." (From this book as cited in this paper.)
|The cat tried to eat the evidence|
|Fat cats obsessed with measurements|
Another concern, noted by Ray Pawson of Leeds, is that, "evaluation research is tortured by time constraints." Research time cycles do not sync with policy time cycles, thus it is difficult for evidence to have policy impact. Researchers often mention the elusive search for the "gold standard" of evidence and methodology. He suggests using combinations of meta-analysis (an analysis of analyses) and narrative review (akin to a literature review) to mitigate biases associated with particular methodologies or evidence.
Pamela Samuelson of Berkeley takes the argument back a step and asks, "Should Economics Play a Role in Copyright Law and Policy?" Thankfully, the answer appears to be "yes." Samuelson notes that economics has had limited impact on copyright so far which she attributes to a lack of economic expertise in the policy making community, regulatory capture, poor communication on the part of economists and cultural differences between lawyers, policymakers and economists. She also notes that the copyright industries have been successful in obtaining favourable policies without the aid of economics. Things have moved on since her paper, but there is a lot of work to be done on economics of copyright and evidence-based copyright policy. Indeed, Samuelson's prediction that groups of economists would infiltrate government IP offices is already coming true.