CCP Annual Conference 2015 Live Blogging Session 5: New products – New Regulation?

Franco Mariuzzo (Centre for Competition Policy and School of Economics, University of East Anglia @UEA_Economics) presents his work on mobile applications, which is a fast-growing market whose proper regulation deserves attention.. In September 2014 more than 1.3 million apps were available in the Apple and the Android app stores. This market has low barrier to entry and has a high degree of competition.

He argues that strategic versioning is profitable for application developers because they will be able to use it to attract new customers, leading to continuous growth of downloads. A stylized theoretical model is presented to describe why and when updates should be released by developers in order to maximise profits. Then an empirical test is conducted using data on the top 1000 apps on Apple and Google Play stores for 5 European countries over 2 years. His finding confirms that, in general, updates to applications boost downloads and are more likely to be released when the app is experiencing a drop in downloads. He cites the finding as evidence that developers use updates strategically in order to “resurrect” their applications.

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John Street (Centre for Competition Policy, University of East Anglia @Politics_UEA) discusses creativity and copying in the digital age. John states that there is a parallel music industry between digital and analogue, which runs in both complementary and conflicting ways. Differing considerations apply in each. The increasing use of digitisation and the fight between streaming companies and record companies is expanding.

John looks at how “creativity” and “copying” are distinguished in the musical world, by exploring the politics of the words. Having looked at the manifestos produced for the recent general election, John shows how the politics of digital markets controls how we see copyright. There are competing claims, economic, public policy and natural/moral rights. These three principles leads to different outcomes, which is supported by legal commentary.   John asks what the ends should be. The answer to this question leads to the adoption of a certain copyright basis. John argues that even within national systems, different opinions abound.

John also looks at the legal cases, the choices of artists and their decisions in making music. Having delved down into the decision making process itself, to determine what is “original” and what a “copy” is, John, with the help of case studies, argues that the decisions of all actors in the field are political in various ways. This extends to who makes the decision. Is it a judge, a jury or an expert? Each have different approaches and views as to what is copying and what is not.

John states that these issues have important implications for the regulation of the digital music market. John argues that a good copyright system can be identified by what kinds of political principles inform its rules, how decisions are made and who is involved in, and influences the system.

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About CCP
The Centre for Competition Policy (CCP) conducts interdisciplinary research into competition policy and regulation.

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