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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen M. Maurer & Suzanne Scotchmer, 2006. "Open Source Software: The New Intellectual Property Paradigm," NBER Working Papers 12148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12148
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    8. 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.
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    12. Henkel, Joachim, 2006. "Selective revealing in open innovation processes: The case of embedded Linux," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 953-969, September.
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    14. Alexandre Gaudeul, 2004. "Open Source Software Development Patterns and License Terms," Industrial Organization 0409008, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Engelhardt, Sebastian v. & Freytag, Andreas, 2013. "Institutions, culture, and open source," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 95(C), pages 90-110.
    2. 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, vol. 23(4), pages 605-619, Winter.
    3. Kristian Koerselman, 2008. "Can open sourcing lead to inferior standards?," Discussion Papers 27, Aboa Centre for Economics.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:eee:eecrev:v:94:y:2017:i:c:p:221-239 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. David, Paul A. & Shapiro, Joseph S., 2008. "Community-based production of open-source software: What do we know about the developers who participate?," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 364-398, December.
    7. Stefano Comino & Fabio Maria Manenti, 2015. "Intellectual Property and Innovation in Information and Communication Technology (ICT)," JRC Working Papers JRC97541, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    8. 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.
    9. Rockett, Katharine, 2010. "Property Rights and Invention," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
    10. 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.
    11. Belenzon, Sharon & Schankerman, Mark, 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.
    12. Andras Niedermayer, 2007. "On Platforms, Incomplete Contracts, and Open Source Software," Diskussionsschriften dp0707, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    13. 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.
    14. Blecker, Thorsten & Abdelkafi, Nizar & Raasch, Christina, 2008. "Enabling and Sustaining Collaborative Innovation," MPRA Paper 8964, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. 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.

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    JEL classification:

    • K - Law and Economics
    • L - Industrial Organization

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