Copyright (c) 2001 The John Marshall Law School
The John Marshall Law Review
ARTICLE: FIRST, "LET'S KILL ALL THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAWYERS!": MUSINGS ON THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY EMPIRE
34 J. Marshall L. Rev. 851
Doris Estelle Long*
Like Shakespeare in King Henry VI, when the cry of Dick the Butcher to "first ... kill all the lawyers" was directed to creating havoc in civilized society, 3 the current trend to "kill" (or at least "seriously wound") intellectual property protection is designed to wreak havoc on those forces which have contributed most directly to the present position of the United States as a premiere exporter of technology and intellectual property based products. 4
This Article examines current trends at reducing intellectual property protection both domestically and internationally. It contends that such reductions in protection are particularly harmful to the incentivizing role of intellectual property and the ability of developing countries to obtain the economic benefits of such incentives. These trends are not limited to efforts at legalizing piracy or expanding uncompensated public welfare uses of intellectual property. To the contrary, they include disturbing trends in domestic protection that include resurrection of the discredited election doctrine. Such trends must be reversed and an appropriate balance between creators' rights and public access struck before the economic and technological harm caused by reduced protection becomes irreversible.
Part I of this Article examines the historic and economic role of intellectual property in incentivizing creativity. Part II briefly describes the scope of current hostility to intellectual property rights ("IPRs") protection and some of the historic bases for this hostility. Part III develops the positive relationship between creativity incentivization and wealth production encouraged by strong IPR protection. Part IV examines the balance ...
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