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Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

Philosophy of IP

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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More Tom Bell

I had corresponded with Tom Bell a while back, and he sent me some interesting stuff I've been planning to post almost forever. Justin finally beat me to the punch, so let's see if I can't get caught up. Tom summed up what he does pretty well:

By way of background, I am a law professor who has long had an interest in IP policy. You can find my print publications at tomwbell.com and my blog posts at agoraphilia (a sort of catch-all blog, hosted by my friend, economist Glen Whitman), techliberation.com (dedicated to technology and telecommunications policy), midasoracle.org (focusing on prediction markets), and money law (where I and other legal academics apply quantitative tools to our profession).

I'm on sabbatical, this semester, and aim on finishing a book called, "Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law, and the Common Good." From the title alone, you can guess something of the line of argument I plan to take. Judging from your academic papers, and your blogging at "Against Monopoly," I imagine that you'll find my approach to copyright agreeable.

We had some interesting discussion of my observation that lawyers often are quite skeptical of IP. I found Tom's response quite interesting:

I don't doubt you're right that lawyers--or at least legal academics--prove more skeptical of IP than economists. And you may well be right that it's because people who work in the law know its limits so well. But I'd peg as a contributing cause something less commendable: a distrust of market processes. Among legal academics, at least, I find any invocation of property rights likely to raise skeptical replies. I guess I'm an odd bird in that regard, as I very much like property rights--*in tangibles.* Indeed, my criticisms of IP turn in part on my concern that they do not qualify as property rights, really, and that they might even weaken support for the real and chattle property rights that I so profoundly respect.


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