The Digital Technology Boomerang: New Intellectual Property Rights Threaten Global “Open Science”
AbstractThere is a serious threat that ill-considered government support for expanding legal means of controlling access to information for the purpose of extracting private economic rents is resulting in the 'over- fencing of the public knowledge commons' in science and engineering. Such a new 'tragedy of the commons' would bring adverse long-run consequences for future welfare gains through technological progress, and re-distributional effects further disadvantaging the present economically less advanced countries of the world. Radical legal innovations in intellectual property protection that seriously jeopardize the effective conduct of open, collaborative science have been introduced by the little noticed European Database Directive of March 1996. This initiative forms an emblematic and substantively significant aspect of the broader set of transformations in intellectual property rights institutions that have been initiated in response to the economic ramifications of rapid progress in digital information technologies. The EC Directive poses numerous contentious issues in law and economics that will create ambiguities for business and non-profit activities in this area for years to come. The terms on which those issues are resolved will materially affect the costs and organizational feasibility of scientific projects that are of global reach and importance, especially those that depend heavily upon the collection, management and analysis of large volumes of observational data that cannot be regenerated. This paper sets out the economic case for the effectiveness of open, collaborative research, and the forces behind the recent, countervailing rush to strengthen and expand the scope of intellectual property rights protection. Focusing upon innovations in copyright law and the sui generis protection of hitherto unprotected content, it documents the genesis and analyzes the economic implications of the EC's Database Directive, and related legislative proposals (H.R. 3125, H.R. 354 and H.R. 1858) in the US. Several modest remedial proposals are advanced to mitigate the adverse impact of 'the digital technology boomerang' upon open science.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by EconWPA in its series Development and Comp Systems with number 0502012.
Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: 10 Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 32
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://220.127.116.11
intellectual property rights; copyright; sui generis protection of expressive material; economics of information-goods; open science; 'fair use; ' scientific databases;
Other versions of this item:
- Paul A. David, 2000. "The Digital Technology Boomerang: New Intellectual Property Rights Threaten Global "Open Science"," Working Papers 00016, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2005-04-16 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Besen, Stanley M., 1986. "Private copying, reproduction costs, and the supply of intellectual property," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 5-22.
- Bakos, Yannis & Brynjolfsson, Erik & Lichtman, Douglas, 1999. "Shared Information Goods," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 117-55, April.
- Liebowitz, S J, 1985. "Copying and Indirect Appropriability: Photocopying of Journals," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(5), pages 945-57, October.
- Dasgupta, Partha & David, Paul, 1985. "Information Disclosure and the Economics of Science and Technology," CEPR Discussion Papers 73, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- David, Paul A, 1998. "Common Agency Contracting and the Emergence of "Open Science" Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 15-21, May.
- Besen, Stanley M & Kirby, Sheila Nataraj, 1989. "Private Copying, Appropriability, and Optimal Copying Royalties," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(2), pages 255-80, October.
- Mario Calderini & Chiara Franzoni, 2004. "Is academic patenting detrimental to high quality research? An empirical analysis of the relationship between scientific careers and patent applications," KITeS Working Papers 162, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Oct 2004.
- Mario Calderini & Chiara Franzoni & Andrea Vezzulli, 2005.
"If Star Scientist do no Patent: an Event History Analysis of Scientific Eminence and the Decision to Patent in the Academic World,"
UNIMI - Research Papers in Economics, Business, and Statistics
unimi-1004, Universitá degli Studi di Milano.
- Mario Calderini & Chiara Franzoni & Andrea Vezzulli, 2005. "If Star Scientists do not Patent: an Event History Analysis of Scientific Eminence and the Decision to Patent in the Academic World," KITeS Working Papers 169, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Jun 2005.
- Giovanni B. Ramello, 2004. "Pelle sub agnina latitat mens saepe lupina. Copyright in the marketplace," LIUC Papers in Economics 141, Cattaneo University (LIUC).
- O'Mahoney, Siobhán & Ferraro, Fabrizio, 2004. "Managing the boundary of an 'open' project," IESE Research Papers D/537, IESE Business School.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.