Sunday, December 19, 2010

CopyLeft in 19th Century Germany?: Did an Absence of Copyright Laws Give Rise to a Dramatic Expansion of the German Economy?

A3WRGPJX2HAB I am a dyed-in-the-wool believer in the efficacy of copyright as an engine to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts," as Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution puts it.  That doesn't diminish my fascination with the theory championed by economic historian Eckhard Höffner, who argues that the absence of copyright laws in early 19th Century Germany stimulated an explosion in the number of books and academic papers published, giving rise to unprecedented industrial expansion.  I wonder what Höffner has to say about the role of lax intellectual property enforcement in China today.

1 comment:

  1. And yet, the industrial expansion in the US was far larger, and for a much longer period. If one is going to suggest that lax copyright law is a cause of industrial expansion, why leave out discussion of the American Industrial revolution?

    That just seems strange to me.