Intellectual Property Law Outline

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Date Submitted: 09/23/2010 10:42 AM

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• Locke & Co.: Property is Good.

(But Don’t Be Too Greedy.)

• Natural Law: Property should attach to the fruits of people’s labor. Labor + stuff = Property.

• So IP should cover everything that’s “mixed with labor”, right? Not exactly . . .

• The Lockean Proviso: property holders should own just what they can “make use of to any advantage of life” and only so much that “enough and as good is left in common for others”.

• Sounds fair. How do we apply all of this? Hmm . . .

John Lennon & Co.: Property is Bad

• Natural law: property “should” not attach to ideas, songs, etc.

• IP should not cover anything (except my music).

• What about cancer research, space shuttles, Pentium chips. Doesn’t that cost a lot of R&D money? Right, er . . . that’s what taxes are for! (it’s ok, my money is in the Caymans)

• Bentham, Mill & Co.:

Property is Useful.

(What’s greedy?)

• Property provides incentives to innovate (technology) and create (art). More property = more technology, more art.

• So IP should cover everything, right? Not exactly . . .

• Property has some side-effects. So we need just the right dosage. Calculation instructions follow . . . .

• What Property Is Good For

(or, Why Lennon & Co. Might Be Wrong)

• Internalize “Negative Externalities” ( Fishermen don’t overfish; Herders don’t overgraze. Avoid Tragedy of Commons I.

• Internalize “Positive Externalities” ( Painters will paint; singers will sing; scientists will research, etc. Avoid Tragedy of Commons II.

Lennon’s Rejoinder: IP ≠ P

• IP is Magic: Songs and ideas don’t get “used up”. Hence, no Tragedy of the Commons I. IP is unnecessary.

• IP is Fun: Singers don’t sing for money. Neither do scientists. Hence, no Tragedy of the Commons II. IP is unnecessary.

• OK, but why do we have so much IP? Because people are . . . greedy!

• If Everything Is About Money,...