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1998

Faculty Scholarship

Intellectual Property Law

Incentives

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On Commodifying Intangibles, Wendy J. Gordon, Sam Postbrief Jan 1998

On Commodifying Intangibles, Wendy J. Gordon, Sam Postbrief

Faculty Scholarship

It was made clear long ago that property and value are different things. Value exists. It is a fact. It can arise from law, and much of law aims at creating more value in the world. But value can also arise in spite of law (consider, for example, the fortunes that bootleggers made during the Roaring Twenties), or in law's interstices. When a particular value arises despite a lack of explicit legal protection, its possessors often ask courts or legislatures to give them a legal entitlement to preserve and further exploit that value. Typically the holders demand (1) a liberty …