Accidental Rights

4 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2007

See all articles by James Gibson

James Gibson

University of Richmond School of Law


Written for the Yale Law Journal's online Pocket Part, this is a much shorter and (I hope) more accessible iteration of my earlier paper, Risk Aversion and Rights Accretion in Intellectual Property Law, 116 Yale L.J. 882 (2007). It summarizes that paper's central point - i.e., that intellectual property entitlements are growing not just because of expansive court decisions and legislative enactments, but also because of seemingly sensible, risk-averse licensing decisions that inadvertently feed back into legal doctrine - and then explores how this phenomenon might apply to (and be manipulated by) enterprises such as Google Book Search.

Keywords: copyright, trademark, patent, intellectual property, market, licensing, licenses, risk, risk aversion, persuasion knowledge, fair use, confusion, nonobviousness, sponsorship, feedback, doctrinal, accretion

JEL Classification: D81, K41, K42, K39

Suggested Citation

Gibson, James, Accidental Rights. Yale Law Journal, Vol. 116 Pocket Part, No. 348, 2007, Available at SSRN:

James Gibson (Contact Author)

University of Richmond School of Law ( email )

203 Richmond Way
Richmond, VA 23173
United States
804-287-6398 (Phone)
804-289-8683 (Fax)


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