When international intellectual “piracy” is fair

One of the more troubling developments in recent human history is the emergence of a single, nearly global system of intellectual property (IP). As I will explain, the usual moral arguments for IP—arguments from social utility, piracy, and natural or human rights—are clearly inadequate as justifications for the emerging global IP system. Indeed, the arguments are so weak that it is natural to conclude that the system should simply be abolished. I sympathize with this conclusion, but here defend a somewhat more modest policy prescription. If the system is not abolished, it should at least be eviscerated: developing countries should be exempted from international IP rules, by an unlimited grace period.
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