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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. Harhoff, Dietmar & Henkel, Joachim & von Hippel, Eric, 2003. "Profiting from voluntary information spillovers: how users benefit by freely revealing their innovations," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(10), pages 1753-1769, December.
  2. Bitzer, Jurgen & Schrettl, Wolfram & Schroder, Philipp J.H., 2007. "Intrinsic motivation in open source software development," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 160-169, March.
  3. 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.
  4. Stefano Comino & Fabio Manenti & Marialaura Parisi, 2007. "From Planning to Mature: on the Determinants of Open Source Take-Off," "Marco Fanno" Working Papers 0035, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche "Marco Fanno".
  5. West, Joel, 2003. "How open is open enough?: Melding proprietary and open source platform strategies," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(7), pages 1259-1285, July.
  6. Bronwyn Hall, 2004. "Incentives for knowledge production with many producers," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp292, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  7. Weber, Steven, 2000. "The Political Economy of Open Source Software," UCAIS Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, Working Paper Series qt3hq916dc, UCAIS Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy, UC Berkeley.
  8. Henkel, Joachim, 2006. "Selective revealing in open innovation processes: The case of embedded Linux," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 953-969, September.
  9. Aghion, P. & Tirole, J., 1993. "On the Management of Innovation," Working papers 93-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Schmidt, Klaus M. & Schnitzer, Monika, 2003. "Public Subsidies for Open Source? Some Economic Policy Issues of the Software Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 3793, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Henkel, Joachim & von Hippel, Eric, 2003. "Welfare Implications of User Innovation," Working papers 4327-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Sloan School of Management.
  12. Josh Lerner & Jean Tirole, 2002. "The Scope of Open Source Licensing," NBER Working Papers 9363, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Justin Pappas Johnson, 2002. "Open Source Software: Private Provision of a Public Good," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 637-662, December.
  14. Lerner, Josh & Tirole, Jean, 2002. "Some Simple Economics of Open," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(2), pages 197-234, June.
  15. Henkel, Joachim, 2004. "The Jukebox Mode of Innovation - A Model of Commercial Open Source Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 4507, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Suzanne Scotchmer, 1991. "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 29-41, Winter.
  17. Ramon Casadesus-Masanell & Pankaj Ghemawat, 2006. "Dynamic Mixed Duopoly: A Model Motivated by Linux vs. Windows," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 52(7), pages 1072-1084, July.
  18. Alexandre Gaudeul, 2004. "Open Source Software Development Patterns and License Terms," Industrial Organization 0409008, EconWPA.
  19. Jean-Michel Dalle & Paul David, 2005. "The Allocation of Software Development Resources In ‘Open Source’ Production Mode," Industrial Organization 0502011, EconWPA.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. 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 2010-034, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Max-Planck-Institute of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Andras Niedermayer, 2007. "On Platforms, Incomplete Contracts, and Open Source Software," Diskussionsschriften dp0707, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  4. Sauer, Robert M., 2007. "Why Develop Open Source Software? The Role of Non-Pecuniary Benefits, Monetary Rewards and Open Source Licence Type," IZA Discussion Papers 3197, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Llanes, Gastón & de Elejalde, Ramiro, 2013. "Industry equilibrium with open-source and proprietary firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 36-49.
  6. Engelhardt, Sebastian v. & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Institutions, culture, and open source," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 90-110.
  7. Paul David & Joseph Shapiro, 2008. "Community-Based Production of Open Source Software: What Do We Know About the Developers Who Participate?," Discussion Papers 08-003, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  8. Marcello Basili & Antonio Nicita & Maria Alessandra Rossi, 2008. "Contracts and Motivations. The Case of Open Source," Department of Economics University of Siena 544, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  9. Sharon Belenzon & Mark Schankerman, 2008. "Motivation and sorting in open source software innovation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51594, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Blecker, Thorsten & Abdelkafi, Nizar & Raasch, Christina, 2008. "Enabling and Sustaining Collaborative Innovation," MPRA Paper 8964, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  11. Michiel Bijlsma & Paul de Bijl & Viktoria Kocsis, 2009. "Concurrentie, innovatie en intellectuele eigendomsrechten in software markten," CPB Document 181, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  12. repec:dgr:uvatin:2007090 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Kristian Koerselman, 2008. "Can open sourcing lead to inferior standards?," Discussion Papers 27, Aboa Centre for Economics.

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