Sunday, June 25, 2017

The great intellectual property trade-off; BBC, June 25, 2017

Tim Harford, BBC; The great intellectual property trade-off

"For most economists, scrapping intellectual property entirely is going too far. They point to important cases - such as new medicines - where the costs of invention are enormous and the costs of copying are trivial.
But those who defend intellectual property protections still tend to argue that - right now - those protections offer more than enough incentive to create new ideas.
Dickens himself eventually discovered a financial upside to weak copyright protection.
Twenty five years after his initial visit to the US, Dickens returned, keen to make some money.
He reckoned that so many people had read cheap knock-offs of his stories that he could cash in on his fame with a lecture tour. He was absolutely right: off the back of pirated copies of his work, Charles Dickens made a fortune as a public speaker, many millions of dollars in today's terms.
Perhaps the intellectual property was worth more when given away."

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