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Boston University Law Review


How will intellectual property law change as the economy becomes dominated by services and ideas? This Essay explains why the interest groups and other forces that brought about an expansion of property rights over the last century or two are reconfigured in an economy dominated by ideas. This reconfiguration makes prizes - including grants, subsidies, and various contractual promises - more likely and more attractive than property rights as the means of encouraging innovation. The theory predicts an increase in the use of subsidies and other prizes, rather than patents. These prizes can be of the ex ante kind, offered before innovations come about, as well as of the ex post sort, used to reward success but also to encourage innovators with the promise of future gains. The discussion then moves from patent law to copyright, and from machines and pharmaceuticals to the troubled newsgathering industry, where the iPrize Revolution is likely to be immediate and dramatic because of the low cost of digital delivery.

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