Property rights on the internet: is a specific institutional framework needed?


Digital technologies allow the implementation of more decentralized Property Rights (PR) systems as compared to those traditionally set-up by public authorities at the national level. The self-implementation of exclusive rights of use over information and the design of self-regulation by virtual communities enable agents to set-up and manage PR according to their local constraints and individual preferences. However, a decentralized system has weaknesses. It can result in conflicts and defaults of enforcement that might discourage investments. It can also induce inefficient capture of public goods and favor the development of monopolies. Implementing a last resort authority in charge of limiting and preventing these inefficiencies might result in a more efficient use of resources. Based on the principle of subsidiarity, it should supervise the behaviors of individuals and communities to prevent boundless capture of public wealth by individual interests, to solve conflicts among claims for exclusive rights of use and among local regulations, and to guarantee enforcement when exclusive rights of use are legitimate.Digital economics, Network regulation, Intellectual property rights, Self-regulation, Global governance, Federalism,

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This paper was published in Research Papers in Economics.

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