Adam Cohen


Intellectual property regimes must strike an uneasy balance. By offering information owners some degree of exclusive property rights, they provide inventors with an incentive to create and innovate. By placing limits on those rights, they help to ensure that the public has access to the existing body of human knowledge and that a new group of innovators will be able to build on what came before. Mixed in with this utilitarian formulation is the more normative issue of what rights creators deserve. When intellectual property laws are insufficiently protective of owners' rights, they are criticized for allowing people to unfairly appropriate innovators' creativity and hard work. When they are too protective, they are faulted for infringing on the public's right to freely consume information and build on what has come before.

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