By John Kennedy, in the upcoming Review of Austrian Economics: Excerpt below:
Against Intellectual Monopoly, by Michele Boldrin and David Levine (2007), is a coherent, well-written, and persuasive argument against strong forms of government protection of intellectual property rights. The authors contend that intellectual property rights do not generally promote social welfare, that intellectual property protection generates perverse distributional outcomes, and that firms do not respond to greater levels of protection of intellectual property protection by actually producing more innovation or, if they do, such additional creation is not socially optimal. Although generally quite sound, the book is not without problems; its normative judgments of drug companies are wildly overstated, and the first-mover argument does not adequately address the virtually instantaneous availability of many copyrighted goods online. The book is not written from an Austrian perspective per se, but does extend the logic of the benefits of competitive markets to non-physical goods, and draws conclusions that libertarians are likely to welcome.