Selective enforcement of copyright as an optimal monopolistic behavior

Danny Ben-Shahar*, Assaf Jacob

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We present a perfect Nash equilibrium in which the creator of a work, motivated by economic considerations, selectively enforces her own copyright. In fact, the creator may not only permit, but may strategically promote infringement of the copyright, thereby participating indirectly in predatory pricing, and so raising barriers to entry. Our model is highly applicable to the software industry, where relatively high entry costs and the relatively low cost of copyright infringement make this phenomenon likely. We further show the conditions under which exogenous intervention, through intensive enforcement of copyrights, increases social welfare. Finally, we explore some potential strategies for such legal intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-317
Number of pages31
JournalContributions to Economic Analysis and Policy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Antitrust
  • Copyright
  • Microsoft
  • Monopoly
  • Nash Equilibrium
  • Predatory Pricing
  • Price Discrimination


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