Copyright Defection

Posted: 4 Apr 2008

See all articles by Margaret Jane Radin

Margaret Jane Radin

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law; University of Michigan Law School

Date Written: December 2006


Copyright has traditionally and historically been viewed as a public domain containing discrete islands of propertization, but some today intuitively see it instead as a presumptive realm of propertization, in which there are some holes (non-propertization of ideas, facts, and functional modalities, and exceptions such as exhaustion and fair use). Taking this propertization perspective as its starting point, this article presents a proposal about the holes. The proposal suggests that the holes in copyright can be viewed as the solution to a coordination problem: firms desire to lock up all their own past information production but need access to information produced by others as inputs to their own future information production. Firms in this situation (hypothetically and perhaps in actuality) coordinate to achieve legislation allowing all firms some access to information produced by others. The proposal has the corollary that firms&apos' attempts to get around the holes in copyright can be seen as defection from the legislative solution.

Suggested Citation

Radin, Margaret Jane, Copyright Defection (December 2006). Industrial and Corporate Change, Vol. 15, Issue 6, pp. 981-993, 2006. Available at SSRN: or

Margaret Jane Radin (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Faculty of Law ( email )

78 and 84 Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C5

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
505-314-6516 (Phone)

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