How do intellectual property laws affect the economy?
I've been reading a lot of news about copyright and patent laws with respect to technology. In what ways has intellectual property laws affected the economy and what are the possible pros and cons of proposed changes?
I have no idea what the Economists here would say. I've personally seen very few economists who have grasped that "Intellectual Property" and "Real Property" are both, indeed, "Property" -- like water... But are very different forms of property, with very different proper rules for handling them. Both steam and ice are water, but if you attempted to use the same rules for handling steam that you used to handle ice, then you'd get scalded. And vice versa -- you'd get frostbitten. All too many people who talk about IP think that it can be treated exactly the same -- economically and legally -- as Real Property. They're wrong.
Here's a starting point for consideration -- John Perry Barlow, former member of the band, The Grateful Dead, who got rich doing exactly as he described in this piece, more than 20 years ago:
The Economy of Ideas
A framework for patents and copyrights in the Digital Age. (Everything you know about intellectual property is wrong.)
It's moderately long, but well worth the read. And, as someone who has dealt with IP his entire life, I knew it to be spot-on when I first read it 20 years ago, and I maintain it's just as correct today.