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Decoding and Recoding Natural Monopoly, Deregulation, and Intellectual Property

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Type: Working Paper
Author: Ghosh, Shubha
Date: 2006
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/6367
Sector: Information & Knowledge
Subject(s): regulation
intellectual property rights
Abstract: "The paper examines a parallel between arguments in the deregulation movement to limit the scope of natural monopolies and arguments for limiting the scope of exclusivity for intellectual property. The first part of the paper examines natural monopoly regulation as a metaphor for understanding intellectual property drawing on arguments based on declining average costs of production and negligible marginal costs of distribution. The author concludes that while the cost arguments often surface as a justification for intellectual property, cost-based justifications do not offer a satisfactory basis for determining the scope of intellectual property rights. The second part of the paper turns to critiques of natural monopoly regulation and develops arguments from these critiques for limiting intellectual property rights. The paper concludes with three principles to guide intellectual property reform: (1) recognizing the role of the user in properly determining the value of intellectual property; (2) identifying the role of potential competition in determining the scope of intellectual property rights; and (3) recognizing the role of political economy in shaping the regulatory role of intellectual property."

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