Saturday, July 8, 2006

There is no such thing as an intellectual property right

I just learned that there is no such thing as an IP right, contrarily to what I thought in the past. It turns out that IP rights do not in fact stimulate innovation at all, and all they do is grant an artificial monopoly power for a time, with the rent-seeking that this implies, as well as the lowered incentives for innovation in the area of expanding production.

An idea is worthless if it is not expressed in a prototype or other concrete form (such as a book, song, etc). Therefore it is that object that is protected, not the idea. The value of an original product still exists, insofar as reproduction is not a costless process, which is the assumption that is not present in conventional models. We also see areas (such as fashion) where innovation is not protected and yet it is still commonplace.

Furthermore, innovation becomes MORE valuable as the cost of reproduction goes down- as the cost of reproduction goes down, price should go down, and thus the profit accrued should go up. Studies have shown indeed that file-sharing, for example, actually helps profits rather than hurt them.

So yea, I'm eating crow on that one. Oh well. It never hurts to admit you were wrong.

1 comment:

Salt said...

I see you have come to agree with Vox on something he said quite a while back.

There may be hope for you yet ;) j/k