Intellectual Property and the Incentive Fallacy
Eric E. Johnson
University of North Dakota School of Law; Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society
January 23, 2011
39 Florida State University Law Review 623
The enterprise of intellectual property law has long been based on the premise that external incentives – such as copyrights and patents – are necessary to get people to produce artistic works and technological innovations. This article argues that this foundational belief is wrong. Using recent advances in behavioral economics, psychology, and business-management studies, along with empirical investigations of industry, it is now possible to construct a compelling case that the incentive theory, as a general matter, is mistaken, and that natural and intrinsic motivations will cause technology and the arts to flourish even in the absence of externally supplied rewards. The result is that intellectual property law itself needs a fundamental rethinking.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 58
Keywords: Behavioral Economics, Intellectual Property, Copyright, Patent, Incentives, Intrinsic Motivation, Psychology, Classical Economics
JEL Classification: O31, H3, K00Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 24, 2011 ; Last revised: September 26, 2012
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