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Tyler Cowen writes on his blog about a recent book, Michael Heller's The Gridlock Economy: How Too Much Ownership Wrecks Markets, Stops Innovation, and Costs Lives, whose key message is that the "tragedy of the anti-commons" is often a bigger problem than the better-known tragedy of the commons link here
He provides this example:
"Tarnation, a spunky documentary on growing up with a schizophrenic mother, originally cost $218 to make at home on the director's laptop. It required an additional $230,000 for music clearances before it could be distributed."
Read the whole piece it is short and right on point.
[Posted at 07/06/2008 05:33 PM by John Bennett on IP as a Joke comments(4)]
Here is my twist on Heller's them of how too much ownership hurts the market.
Normally, the concept of "ownership" is viewed from the perspective of the content creator. What is missing from the discussion from is that when a product is SOLD to the consumer, the buyer acquires a property right (ownership) to that product.
What is happening is that the content creators are asserting that products are no longer sold, they are simply "leased" or "licensed". Unfortunately, the fact that we are losing the concept of "sale" is being disregarded. Through this oversight we are effectively acknowledging the content producers assertions that products are never actually sold. Thus the consumer's property right to a product is vaporizing. I would like to see a reinvigoration of the fact that consumer's do have property rights.
[Comment at 07/09/2008 01:20 PM by Steve R.]
Exactly. There's nothing wrong with ownership in intellectual work. Just because our current system is called "intellectual property" doesn't mean that it has actually got anything to do with property. Intellectual property doesn't work like you would expect property to.
Rather than "too much ownership" the problem is the complete disregard for the intellectual property rights of the customer, who, after having bought something, ought to have full control over it, including but not limited to the right to use, study, modify, share, and republish that work.
[Comment at 07/09/2008 02:13 PM by Kid]
"Intellectual property doesn't work like you would expect property to."
I mean, of course, as currently implemented it doesn't work like you would expect property to.
[Comment at 07/09/2008 02:14 PM by Kid]
Intellectual property as a term and as a natural concept is fine, just as material property is.
However, be careful to avoid accepting abusive definitions, even when you challenge them - or you will come unstuck.
That some people incorrectly classify copyright as a proprietary right is an error, not to be accepted. Copyright is a proprietary privilege, not a right (even if it coincidentally protects an author's exclusive rights to their unpublished works). That some conflate the definition of IP to encompass such privileges is understandable, but not accurate.
A transferable mercantile privilege of exclusive reproduction is granted to authors of original intellectual works - aka 'copyright'. This partially suspends the intellectual property rights of purchasers of such works - to make copies or derivatives of their own property - to provide a commercially lucrative monopoly to printers and other publishing corporations (expected to be the only ones able to benefit from it).
[Comment at 07/11/2008 05:24 AM by Crosbie Fitch]