Copyright Unbalanced: From Incentive to Excess

Copyright Unbalanced: From Incentive to Excess



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Copyright Unbalanced: From Incentive to Excess by Jerry Brito, Tom W. Bell, Eli Dourado

Restoring the Balance between Protection and Innovation

The Constitution gives Congress the power to establish copyright "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." This requires Congress to engage in a delicate balancing act, giving authors enough protection that they will be motivated to create expressive works, but not so much that it hampers innovation and public access to information. Yet over the past half-century Congress has routinely shifted the balance in only one direction-away from access and freedom and toward greater privileges for organized special interests.

Conservatives and libertarians, who are naturally suspicious of big government, should be skeptical of an ever-expanding copyright system. They should also be skeptical of the recent trend toward criminal prosecution of even minor copyright infringements, of the growing use of civil asset forfeiture in copyright enforcement, and of attempts to regulate the Internet and electronics in the name of piracy eradication.

Copyright Unbalanced is not a moral case for or against copyright; it is a pragmatic look at the excesses of the present copyright regime and of proposals to expand it further. It is a call for reform-to roll back the expansions and reinstate the limits that the Constitution's framers placed on copyright.

About the Editor

Jerry Brito is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and director of its Technology Policy Program. He also serves as adjunct professor of law at Mason. He has written for both online and print publications, including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Reason,, Ars Technica, and The Atlantic. Brito is the co-author of Regulation: A Primer, with Susan Dudley.

About the Contributors

Tom W. Bell is a professor at Chapman University School of Law and an adjunct fellow of the Cato Institute. He is the coeditor of Regulators' Revenge: The Future of Telecommunications Deregulation, with Solveig Singleton.

Eli Dourado is a research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University with the Technology Policy Program.

Timothy B. Lee is an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. He covers technology policy for Ars Technica and has written for both online and print publications, including Slate, Reason,, and the New York Times.

Christina Mulligan is a postdoctoral associate in law and a lecturer in law at the Information Society Project at Yale Law School.

David G. Post is professor of law at the Beasley School of Law at Temple University, where he teaches intellectual property law and the law of cyberspace. He is the author of In Search of Jefferson's Moose: Notes on the State of Cyberspace and coauthor of Cyberlaw: Problems of Policy and Jurisprudence in the Information Age, with Paul Schiff Berman, Patricia Bellia, and Brett Frischmann. Post is a regular contributor to the influential Volokh Conspiracy blog.

Patrick Ruffini is president of Engage, a digital media firm with clients including Fortune 500 companies, presidential and statewide candidates, technology startups, and issue advocacy campaigns.

Reihan Salam is a policy advisor at Economics 21, a contributing editor at National Review, a Reuters opinion columnist, and a CNN contributor. He is the coauthor of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream, with Ross Douthat.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780983607755
Publisher: Mercatus Center at George Mason University
Publication date: 11/29/2012
Pages: 154
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.33(d)

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