September 20, 2004

Property, Intellectual Property, and Free Riding

by Scott Rettberg · , 9:27 pm

I may be turning into an intellectual property law geek, but I found Mark A. Lemley’s Property, Intellectual Property, and Free Riding (click on “Go to Document Delivery” for full text) engrossing. Lemley rehearses some of the ground that Jamie Boyle and Lawrence Lessig cover about the origin of the idea of intellectual property law and the “tragedy of the commons,” explains some of the benefits of leaving room for “free-riding” in the distribution of intellectual property, questions whether property is an apt metaphor for what’s come to be known as intellectual property, and explores some other analogies that might be more appropriate.

One wonders if intellectual property law might have a different place in our culture if we referred to it simply as “idea law.”