Coase theorem primer (police shooting video edition)

Broadly speaking, the so-called Coase theorem states that when bargaining is feasible (i.e. when transaction costs are low), bargaining among parties with conflicts of interest will produce an efficient economic outcome regardless of the initial allocation of property rights. English economist Ronald Coase originally developed this idea to explain the economics of externalities, such as railway sparks. Does his theorem also apply to media outlets that air newsworthy videos filmed by private citizens? From the New York Times (17 April 2015, p. A21):

The video of a North Charleston police officer shooting an unarmed man in the back will now cost news outlets that want to run it $10,000, according to a publicist representing the man who shot it. Cease-and-desist letters went out this week to news outlets around the world from Markson Sparks, a publicity and celebrity management company based in Sydney, Australia. The video, taken April 4, showed a North Charleston police officer, Michael T. Slager, shooting a man who ran from him after a traffic stop. A bystander, Feidin Santana, took the video and then turned it over to the family of the man who was killed, Walter L. Scott.

About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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