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Intellectual Property Rights In A Knowledge-Based Economy: A New Frame-Of-Analysis

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  • Elad Harison

Abstract

The debate on software intellectual property rights (IPRs) has not only highlighted fundamental issues regarding the scheme of protection that software enjoys, it has also pointed out major gaps in the representation of computer programs as economic goods. In this respect, various interpretations of software propose a limited outlook by referring only to particular aspects of computer programs. The paper discusses the economic nature of software and computational processes and how they should be properly represented as commodities by focusing on software IPR legislation in the US. It elaborates the similarities and differences between software applications and machines on the basis of historical evidence from the evolution of information technologies and computer science. Further, we discuss whether computer programs should enjoy IPR protection (like their physical equivalents) and which legal regime would induce the maximal degree of societal benefits, while satisfying private and public interests. The paper also elaborates the essential issues of the distinction between ideas and expressions and the ways they are treated as intellectual property. It highlights major aspects in the debate over protection of software applications by both patents and copyrights and analyses the economic impact of the joint regime. By highlighting the dissimilarities in the economic nature and market behaviour of ideas and expressions we point out the difficulties in drawing parallels between software and physical equivalents. Finally, we provide alternative ways to establish coherent juridical basis and legal policy of software IPRs that aim at stimulating innovation and developing the technological landscape in information technologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Elad Harison, 2008. "Intellectual Property Rights In A Knowledge-Based Economy: A New Frame-Of-Analysis," Economics of Innovation and New Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(4), pages 377-400.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ecinnt:v:17:y:2008:i:4:p:377-400
    DOI: 10.1080/10438590701281280
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Babbage, Charles, 1832. "Economy of Machinery and Manufactures," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number babbage1832.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cristiano, Antonelli & Ferraris, Gianluigi, 2009. "Innovation as an Emerging System Property: an Agent Based Model," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 200911, University of Turin.

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