All Rights Reserved? Reassessing Copyright and Patent Enforcement in the Digital Age
69 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2003 Last revised: 5 May 2015
All Rights Reserved attacks conventional wisdom regarding the infringement of intellectual property rights. As the piece argues, piracy can play a central role in the business models of many successful corporations. In advancing this assertion, the article examines the differences between material property and intellectual property - differences that have grown all the more pronounced with the spread of digital technology. As the article maintains, in the cyberage, reliance on legal enforcement to combat intellectual property piracy may be increasingly futile and harmful. Thus, the article makes a negative case against legal enforcement of intellectual property rights. All Rights Reserved then advances a strong positive case against enforcement of intellectual property rights. Corporations (not to mention society) can garner tremendous value from certain levels of piracy and a multitude of mechanisms outside of legal enforcement can and should be utilized as an alternative means to achieve profit and growth in the information economy. As the evidence indicates, a variety of information-based industries can thrive not only despite, but because of, rampant piracy. All told, All Rights Reserved does not call for an end to the availability of intellectual property protections. Instead, it dictates a more rational use of intellectual property laws to the strategic benefit of individual corporations, and, ultimately, to society.
Keywords: intellectual property, copyright, patent, trademark, entertainment law, digital, norms, piracy, Internet, cyberspace, music industry, Napster, Kazaa, Microsoft
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