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Indelicate Imbalancing in Copyright and Patent Law

COPY FIGHTS: THE FUTURE OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN THE INFORMATION AGE AT 1, Adam Thierer, Wayne Crews, eds., Cato Institute, 2002

16 Pages Posted: 4 May 2007  

Tom W. Bell

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law

Abstract

Courts and commentators routinely claim that copyrights and patents aim to strike a delicate balance between public and private interests. No such balance exists, however. Intractable knowledge problems preclude lawmakers from even measuring the many, fluctuating, and unquantifiable interests affected by copyrights and patents, must less setting those interests in equipoise. Due to public choice problems, moreover, we can expect no better from lawmakers than indelicate imbalances in favor of certain lobbies. Copyrights and patents serve worthy utilitarian ends. They will fail to reach them, however, if we count on centralized political authorities to delicately balance public and private interests. Instead, copyright and patent policy should aim at promoting the progress of science and useful arts through the decentralized enforcement of common law rights.

JEL Classification: copyright, patent, delicate balancing

Suggested Citation

Bell, Tom W., Indelicate Imbalancing in Copyright and Patent Law. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=984085

Tom W. Bell (Contact Author)

Chapman University, The Dale E. Fowler School of Law ( email )

One University Drive
Orange, CA 92866-1099
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714-628-2576 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.tomwbell.com

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