Innovation and Incarceration: An Economic Analysis of Criminal Intellectual Property Law

60 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2013 Last revised: 2 Dec 2016

See all articles by Christopher Buccafusco

Christopher Buccafusco

Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Jonathan S. Masur

University of Chicago - Law School

Date Written: July 23, 2013


The scope and enforcement of intellectual property (IP) laws are becoming salient, for the first time, to a wide cohort of U.S. and international communities. National and international legislation, including the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA), and the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), have generated protests online and in the streets by people who are concerned about the expansion of IP rights. Common to each of these proposals was an expansion in the use of criminal sanctions to deter IP violations. Many copyright owners and the associations that represent them support criminal enforcement of IP, including the use of imprisonment, to combat the threat of increased IP piracy on the internet and throughout a globalized economy. Others, including a heterogeneous coalition of scholars, activists, and internet based companies like Google and Wikipedia, fear that using criminal sanctions to protect IP will expand already overgrown rights and chill valuable expressive and inventive behavior.

Suggested Citation

Buccafusco, Christopher J. and Masur, Jonathan S., Innovation and Incarceration: An Economic Analysis of Criminal Intellectual Property Law (July 23, 2013). Southern California Law Review, Vol. 87, pp. 275-334 (2014); University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 649; U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 435; Chicago-Kent College of Law Research Paper No. 2013-34. Available at SSRN:

Christopher J. Buccafusco

Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

55 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10003
United States

Jonathan S. Masur (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773.702.5188 (Phone)


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