An ill-founded attack on U.S. IP rights appearing yesterday in the University of Chicago, Booth School of Business publication, “Pro-Market,” is a sobering reminder that there those who believe that IP rights should be eliminated and are willing to resort to propaganda to make it happen.
The article, “Intellectual Property Laws: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing,” is a wakeup call to millions of Americans who believe in innovation, authorship and free-enterprise. It must be read to be believed.
Intellectual Property Laws: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing by Brink Lindsey and Steven M. Teles of the libertarian Niskanen Center, is a bold challenge to prove that IP has meaning in a digital world, and whether most rights can simply be ignored.
Authors Lindsey and Teles cite the much-debunked 2012 Bessen-Meurer research that claims $29 billion in costs to companies as a result of patent litigation.
“In other words,” state the authors, “outside the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, American public companies would apparently be better off if the patent system didn’t exist.”
The authors conclude: “The copyright and patent laws we have today therefore look more like intellectual monopoly than intellectual property. They do not simply give people their rightful due; on the contrary, they lavish special privileges on copyright and patent holders to the detriment of everyone else. Therefore, it is entirely appropriate to strip IP protection of its sheep’s clothing and to see it for the wolf it is, a major source of economic stagnation and a tool for unjust enrichment.”
The Niskanen Center, which Lindsey and Teles are associated, generated almost $2 million in 2015 revenues. The organization’s website does not indicate the sources nor does there their 990 annual statement.
Pro-Market is the blog of the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The article is adapted from their upcoming book “The Captured Economy: How the Powerful Enrich Themselves, Slow Down Growth, and Increase Inequality” (Oxford University Press).
The article, “Intellectual Property Laws: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing,” can be read here.
Image source: promarket.org