Copyrights and patents have come to be called “intellectual property,” a phrase which suggests that they are much akin to ordinary property. They are not: they are a government grant of monopoly power. The argument in favour of intellectual property must then be that these monopolies provide important offsetting incentives for innovation and creation.
However, all the available evidence suggests that patents and copyrights are a failure, and inhibit innovation and creativity at least as much they encourage it.
In this lively and entertaining lecture, Dr. David Levine documents the history of intellectual property, arguing that the best strategy for stimulating creativity in 21st century society is to eliminate copyrights and patents entirely.
SFU/BMO Bank of Montreal Lecture Series