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Open Source Software: The New Intellectual Property Paradigm

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  • Stephen M. Maurer
  • Suzanne Scotchmer

Abstract

Open source methods for creating software rely on developers who voluntarily reveal code in the expectation that other developers will reciprocate. Open source incentives are distinct from earlier uses of intellectual property, leading to different types of inefficiencies and different biases in R&D investment. Open source style of software development remedies a defect of intellectual property protection, namely, that it does not generally require or encourage disclosure of source code. We review a considerable body of survey evidence and theory that seeks to explain why developers participate in open source collaborations instead of keeping their code proprietary, and evaluates the extent to which open source may improve welfare compared to proprietary development.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12148.

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Date of creation: Apr 2006
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Publication status: published as Hendershott, Terrence (ed.) Economics and Information Systems, Volume 1. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science, 2006.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12148

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References

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  1. Alfonso Gambardella & Bronwyn H. Hall, 2005. "Proprietary vs. Public Domain Licensing of Software and Research Products," NBER Working Papers 11120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. West, Joel, 2003. "How open is open enough?: Melding proprietary and open source platform strategies," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1259-1285, July.
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  4. Stefano Comino & Fabio Manenti & Marialaura Parisi, 2007. "From Planning to Mature: on the Determinants of Open Source Take-Off," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno" 0035, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
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  6. Henkel, Joachim, 2006. "Selective revealing in open innovation processes: The case of embedded Linux," Research Policy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 953-969, September.
  7. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Some Simple Economics of Open," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 197-234, June.
  8. Bitzer, Jürgen & Schrettl, Wolfram & Schröder, Philipp J. H., 2004. "Intrinsic motivation in open source software development," Discussion Papers 2004/19, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
  9. Justin Pappas Johnson, 2002. "Open Source Software: Private Provision of a Public Good," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 637-662, December.
  10. Weber, Steven, 2000. "The Political Economy of Open Source Software," UCAIS Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, Working Paper Series, UCAIS Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, UC Berkeley qt3hq916dc, UCAIS Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, UC Berkeley.
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  13. Josh Lerner, 2005. "The Scope of Open Source Licensing," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 20-56, April.
  14. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Frank A.G. den Butter & Stefan P.T. Groot & Faroek Lazrak, 2007. "The Transaction Costs Perspective on Standards as a Source of Trade and Productivity Growth," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 07-090/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  2. Llanes, Gastón & de Elejalde, Ramiro, 2013. "Industry equilibrium with open-source and proprietary firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 36-49.
  3. Robert M. Sauer, 2007. "Why develop open-source software? The role of non-pecuniary benefits, monetary rewards, and open-source licence type," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(4), pages 605-619, Winter.
  4. Kristian Koerselman, 2008. "Can open sourcing lead to inferior standards?," Discussion Papers, Aboa Centre for Economics 27, Aboa Centre for Economics.
  5. Paul David & Joseph Shapiro, 2008. "Community-Based Production of Open Source Software: What Do We Know About the Developers Who Participate?," Discussion Papers, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research 08-003, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  6. Andreas Freytag & Sebastian von Engelhardt, 2010. "Institutions, Culture, and Open Source," Jena Economic Research Papers, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics 2010-010, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  7. repec:dgr:uvatin:2007090 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Sharon Belenzon & Mark Schankerman, 2008. "Motivation and sorting in open source software innovation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 51594, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Blecker, Thorsten & Abdelkafi, Nizar & Raasch, Christina, 2008. "Enabling and Sustaining Collaborative Innovation," MPRA Paper 8964, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Andras Niedermayer, 2007. "On Platforms, Incomplete Contracts, and Open Source Software," Diskussionsschriften, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft dp0707, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  11. Sebastian von Engelhardt, 2010. "Quality Competition or Quality Cooperation? License-Type and the Strategic Nature of Open Source vs. Closed Source Business Models," Jena Economic Research Papers, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics 2010-034, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  12. Marcello Basili & Antonio Nicita & Maria Alessandra Rossi, 2008. "Contracts and Motivations. The Case of Open Source," Department of Economics University of Siena, Department of Economics, University of Siena 544, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  13. Michiel Bijlsma & Paul de Bijl & Viktoria Kocsis, 2009. "Concurrentie, innovatie en intellectuele eigendomsrechten in software markten," CPB Document, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis 181, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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