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The Case Against Intellectual Property

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  • Michele Boldrin
  • David K Levine

Abstract

According to a common argument, the presence of strong intellectual property rights spurs innovation, which then leads to fiercer competition, higher economic growth and increasing benefits for the average consumers. We argue that, in the case of intellectual property rights, this has lead to misconceptions and abuses. Current legislation on intellectual property confuses the protection of property rights on objects in which ideas are embodied with the attribution of monopoly power on the idea itself and, furthermore, with restrictions on the usage of such goods on the part of the buyers. This implies that both patent and copyright laws should be dramatically altered. To back up our claim we provide theoretical arguments, even for the most extreme case in which goods are produced at a positive fixed cost and zero marginal cost.
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Suggested Citation

  • Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2002. "The Case Against Intellectual Property," Levine's Working Paper Archive 618897000000000003, David K. Levine.
  • Handle: RePEc:cla:levarc:618897000000000003
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    File URL: http://www.dklevine.com/papers/intellectual.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Boldrin, Michele & Levine, David K., 2008. "Perfectly competitive innovation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 435-453, April.
    2. Romer, Paul M, 1990. "Are Nonconvexities Important for Understanding Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 97-103, May.
    3. Joshua S. Gans & David H. Hsu & Scott Stern, 2002. "When Does Start-Up Innovation Spur the Gale of Creative Destruction?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 33(4), pages 571-586, Winter.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
    • L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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