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The European Union and Beyond

The Effect of Coercive State Mechanisms on Expert Decision-making in Music Distribution SDOs

Policy Analysis
Decision Making
Policy Change
Alison Harcourt
University of Exeter
Alison Harcourt
University of Exeter

Drezner claimed that "private actors with constrained exit options have a strong incentive to invest in assets specific to longstanding domestic legal and regulatory structures" (Drezner, 2008:5). This indicates that experts in SDOs are working within the context of wider government architectures which shape their decision-making. Software standard patents have long been a bone of contention between the EU and the US. Royalty-fee-paying software patents are legal in the US. However, European countries ban patents on software, formulas and algorithms according to the 1973 European Patent Convention Article 52(c) and the 2012 EU Unitary Patent Package which exclude programs from patentability. The focus of the paper will be on coercive state mechanisms on actor preferences.

Standards under investigation will be MPEG, optical music recognition, SML music notation modelling and DRM standards. The paper will assess alliances of open source group groups with EU institutions and European governments in proposing solutions to decision-making as opposed to larger corporate pressure for patented standards registered in the US. The Paper provides empirical evidence that sheds light into how states shape actor behaviour and under what conditions their behaviour changes. The focus will be on how divergent legal approaches (particularly between the US where royalty-fee-paying software patents are legal and the EU where they are not) affects decision-making. External campaigns relating to open source solutions will also be examined.
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