The “Fallacy of Intellectual Property” Fallacy | Copyhype

The “Fallacy of Intellectual Property” Fallacy

… Law professor Eric E. Johnson is currently writing a series of posts on “the great fallacy of intellectual property“. He describes this fallacy this way: “The long understood theory for why IP rights are necessary has been that people won’t invent useful technologies or create worthwhile art and literature without having the right to profit from their labors.”

We can call this the “fallacy of intellectual property” fallacy.

It’s a fallacy because it doesn’t accurately state the theory behind copyright. The economic justification for copyright is that it is an incentive to create — not a necessary condition. True, there exists a base level of drive to create knowledge and culture. But, as knowledge and culture are fundamentally important to a democratic society, an incentive to create above and beyond this base level provides significant benefits to that society.

In addition, the “fallacy of intellectual property” fallacy fails to account for an arguably more important function of copyright. Copyright provides an incentive to invest in creation.

This is an extract from a long, fascinating and subtle discussion by Terry Hartof a very important issue.