In Does Copyright Law Promote Creativity? An Empirical Analysis of Copyright's Bounty, the authors, Raymond Shih Ray Ku (Case Western, Law), Jiayang Sun (Case Western, Statistics), and Yiying Fan (Case Western, Statistics Grad Student), subject a core tenet of copyright theory to empirical testing. What they find might surprise. An excerpted abstract follows.
"Modern copyright law is based upon a theory: increase copyright protection and you increase the number of creative works available to society. ... In this Article, we use statistical analysis to test the theory that increasing copyright protection usually increases the number of new creative works. Relying upon U.S. copyright registrations from 1870 through 2006 as a proxy for the number of works created, we consider how four variables—population, the economy, legal changes, and technology—influenced subsequent copyright registrations. Our findings cast serious doubt on the idea that with copyright law, one size fits all. While individual legal changes may be associated with changes in subsequent copyright registrations, the overall relationship between changes in copyright law and registrations is neither consistent nor completely predictable."