Book Forum

Against Intellectual Monopoly

November 10, 2008 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM EST


Featuring the coauthor Michele Boldrin, The Joseph G. Hoyt Distinguished Professor of Economics, Washington University in St. Louis; with comments by Robert D. Atkinson, Ph.D., Founder and president, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation; moderated by Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies, Cato Institute

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Though it is commonly believed that intellectual property law in the form of copyright and patent is necessary for innovation and the creation of ideas and inventions such as machines, drugs, computer software, books, music, literature and movies, Michele Boldrin and coauthor David K. Levine argue that intellectual property laws are costly and dangerous government grants of private monopoly over ideas. Their book seeks to show through theory and example that “intellectual monopoly” is not necessary for innovation and is damaging to growth, prosperity, and liberty.

The argument that intellectual property laws actually retard progress is a fascinating challenge to conventional beliefs about their foundations and utility. At the onset of the Information Age, the role of copyright, patent, and other legal regimes in the progress of science and arts is centrally important.