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Chapter 1. Introduction: A Moment of Opportunity and Challenge

  1. Barry Wellman et al., “The Social Affordances of the Internet for Networked Individualism,” JCMC 8, no. 3 (April 2003).
  2. Langdon Winner, ed., “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” in The Whale and The Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 19–39.
  3. Harold Innis, The Bias of Communication (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1951). Innis too is often lumped with McLuhan and Walter Ong as a technological determinist. His work was, however, one of a political economist, and he emphasized the relationship between technology and economic and social organization, much more than the deterministic operation of technology on human cognition and capability.
  4. Lawrence Lessig, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (New York: Basic Books, 1999).
  5. Manuel Castells, The Rise of Networked Society (Cambridge, MA, and Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 1996).

Part One. The Networked Information Economy

PART I. The Networked Information Economy
I. Elizabeth Eisenstein, Printing Press as an Agent of Change (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979).

Chapter 2. Some Basic Economics of Information Production & Innovation

  1. The full statement was: “[A]ny information obtained, say a new method of production, should, from the welfare point of view, be available free of charge (apart from the costs of transmitting information). This insures optimal utilization of the information but of course provides no incentive for investment in research. In a free enterprise economy, inventive activity is supported by using the invention to create property rights; precisely to the extent that it is successful, there is an underutilization of information.” Kenneth Arrow, “Economic Welfare and the Allocation of Resources for Invention,” in Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity: Economic and Social Factors, ed. Richard R. Nelson (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1962), 616–617.
  2. Suzanne Scotchmer, “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Cumulative Research and the Patent Law,” Journal of Economic Perspectives 5 (1991): 29–41.
  3. Eldred v. Ashcroft, 537 U.S. 186 (2003).
  4. Adam Jaffe, “The U.S. Patent System in Transition: Policy Innovation and the Innovation Process,” Research Policy 29 (2000): 531.
  5. Josh Lerner, “Patent Protection and Innovation Over 150 Years” (working paper no. 8977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, 2002).
  6. At most, a “hot news” exception on the model of International News Service v. Associated Press, 248 U.S. 215 (1918), might be required. Even that, however, would only be applicable to online editions that are for pay. In paper, habits of reading, accreditation of the original paper, and first-to-market advantages of even a few hours would be enough. Online, where the first-to-market advantage could shrink to seconds, “hot news” protection may be worthwhile. However, almost all papers are available for free and rely solely on advertising. The benefits of reading a copied version are, at that point, practically insignificant to the reader.
  7. Wesley Cohen, R. Nelson, and J. Walsh, “Protecting Their Intellectual Assets: Appropriability Conditions and Why U.S. Manufacturing Firms Patent (or Not)” (working paper no. 7552, National Bureau Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, 2000); Richard Levin et al., “Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 3 (1987): 783; Mansfield et al., “Imitation Costs and Patents: An Empirical Study,” The Economic Journal 91 (1981): 907.
  8. In the 2002 Economic Census, compare NAICS categories 5415 (computer systems and related services) to NAICS 5112 (software publishing). Between the 1997 Economic Census and the 2002 census, this ratio remained stable, at about 36 percent in 1997 and 37 percent in 2002. See 2002 Economic Census, “Industry Series, Information, Software Publishers, and Computer Systems, Design and Related Services” (Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau, 2004).
  9. Levin et al., “Appropriating the Returns,” 794–796 (secrecy, lead time, and learningcurve advantages regarded as more effective than patents by most firms). See also F. M. Scherer, “Learning by Doing and International Trade in Semiconductors” (faculty research working paper series R94-13, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1994), an empirical study of semiconductor industry suggesting that for industries with steep learning curves, investment in information production is driven by advantages of being first down the learning curve rather than the expectation of legal rights of exclusion. The absorption effect is described in Wesley M. Cohen and Daniel A. Leventhal, “Innovation and Learning: The Two Faces of R&D,” The Economic Journal 99 (1989): 569–596. The collaboration effect was initially described in Richard R. Nelson, “The Simple Economics of Basic Scientific Research,” Journal of Political Economy 67 (June 1959): 297–306. The most extensive work over the past fifteen years, and the source of the term of learning networks, has been from Woody Powell on knowledge and learning networks. Identifying the role of markets made concentrated by the limited ability to use information, rather than through exclusive rights, was made in F. M. Scherer, “Nordhaus’s Theory of Optimal Patent Life: A Geometric Reinterpretation,” American Economic Review 62 (1972): 422–427.
  10. Eric von Hippel, Democratizing Innovation (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005).
  11. Eben Moglen, “Anarchism Triumphant: Free Software and the Death of Copyright,” First Monday (1999),

Chapter 3. Peer Production and Sharing

  1. For an excellent history of the free software movement and of open-source development, see Glyn Moody, Rebel Code: Inside Linux and the Open Source Revolution (New York: Perseus Publishing, 2001).
  2. Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
  3. Josh Lerner and Jean Tirole, “The Scope of Open Source Licensing” (Harvard NOM working paper no. 02–42, table 1, Cambridge, MA, 2002). The figure is computed out of the data reported in this paper for the number of free software development projects that Lerner and Tirole identify as having “restrictive” or “very restrictive” licenses.
  4. Netcraft, April 2004 Web Server Survey, server_survey.html.
  5. Clickworkers Results: Crater Marking Activity, July 3, 2001,
  6. B. Kanefsky, N. G. Barlow, and V. C. Gulick, Can Distributed Volunteers Accomplish Massive Data Analysis Tasks?
  7. J. Giles, “Special Report: Internet Encyclopedias Go Head to Head,” Nature, December 14, 2005, available at .
  9. Yochai Benkler, “Coase’s Penguin, or Linux and the Nature of the Firm,” Yale Law Journal 112 (2001): 369.
  10. IBM Collaborative User Experience Research Group, History Flows: Results (2003),
  11. For the full argument, see Yochai Benkler, “Some Economics of Wireless Communications,” Harvard Journal of Law and Technology 16 (2002): 25; and Yochai Benkler, “Overcoming Agoraphobia: Building the Commons of the Digitally Networked Environment,” Harvard Journal of Law and Technology 11 (1998): 287. For an excellent overview of the intellectual history of this debate and a contribution to the institutional design necessary to make space for this change, see Kevin Werbach, “Supercommons: Towards a Unified Theory of Wireless Communication,” Texas Law Review 82 (2004): 863. The policy implications of computationally intensive radios using wide bands were first raised by George Gilder in “The New Rule of the Wireless,” Forbes ASAP, March 29, 1993, and Paul Baran, “Visions of the 21st Century Communications: Is the Shortage of Radio Spectrum for Broadband Networks of the Future a Self Made Problem?” (keynote talk transcript, 8th Annual Conference on Next Generation Networks, Washington, DC, November 9, 1994). Both statements focused on the potential abundance of spectrum, and how it renders “spectrum management” obsolete. Eli Noam was the first to point out that, even if one did not buy the idea that computationally intensive radios eliminated scarcity, they still rendered spectrum property rights obsolete, and enabled instead a fluid, dynamic, real-time market in spectrum clearance rights. See Eli Noam, “Taking the Next Step Beyond Spectrum Auctions: Open Spectrum Access,” Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Communications Magazine 33, no. 12 (1995): 66–73; later elaborated in Eli Noam, “Spectrum Auction: Yesterday’s Heresy, Today’s Orthodoxy, Tomorrow’s Anachronism. Taking the Next Step to Open Spectrum Access,” Journal of Law and Economics 41 (1998): 765, 778–780. The argument that equipment markets based on a spectrum commons, or free access to frequencies, could replace the role planned for markets in spectrum property rights with computationally intensive equipment and sophisticated network sharing protocols, and would likely be more efficient even assuming that scarcity persists, was made in Benkler, “Overcoming Agoraphobia.” Lawrence Lessig, Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace (New York: Basic Books, 1999) and Lawrence Lessig, The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World (New York: Random House, 2001) developed a rationale based on the innovation dynamic in support of the economic value of open wireless networks. David Reed, “Comments for FCC Spectrum Task Force on Spectrum Policy,” filed with the Federal Communications Commission July 10, 2002, crystallized the technical underpinnings and limitations of the idea that spectrum can be regarded as property.
  12. See Benkler, “Some Economics,” 44–47. The term “cooperation gain” was developed by Reed to describe a somewhat broader concept than “diversity gain” is in multiuser information theory.
  13. Spectrum Policy Task Force Report to the Commission (Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC, 2002); Michael K. Powell, “Broadband Migration III: New Directions in Wireless Policy” (Remarks at the Silicon Flatiron Telecommunications Program, University of Colorado at Boulder, October 30, 2002).

Chapter 4. The Economics of Social Production

  1. Richard M. Titmuss, The Gift Relationship: From Human Blood to Social Policy (New York: Vintage Books, 1971), 94.
  2. Kenneth J. Arrow, “Gifts and Exchanges,” Philosophy & Public Affairs 1 (1972): 343.
  3. Bruno S. Frey, Not Just for Money: An Economic Theory of Personal Motivation (Brook- field, VT: Edward Elgar, 1997); Bruno S. Frey, Inspiring Economics: Human Motivation in Political Economy (Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar, 2001), 52–72. An excellent survey of this literature is Bruno S. Frey and Reto Jegen, “Motivation Crowding Theory,” Journal of Economic Surveys 15, no. 5 (2001): 589. For a crystallization of the underlying psychological theory, see Edward L. Deci and Richard M. Ryan, Intrinsic Motivation and Self-Determination in Human Behavior (New York: Plenum, 1985).
  4. Roland Be´nabou and Jean Tirole, “Self-Confidence and Social Interactions” (working paper no. 7585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, March 2000).
  5. Truman F. Bewley, “A Depressed Labor Market as Explained by Participants,” American Economic Review (Papers and Proceedings) 85 (1995): 250, provides survey data about managers’ beliefs about the effects of incentive contracts; Margit Osterloh and Bruno S. Frey, “Motivation, Knowledge Transfer, and Organizational Form,” Organization Science 11 (2000): 538, provides evidence that employees with tacit knowledge communicate it to coworkers more efficiently without extrinsic motivations, with the appropriate social motivations, than when money is offered for “teaching” their knowledge; Bruno S. Frey and Felix Oberholzer-Gee, “The Cost of Price Incentives: An Empirical Analysis of Motivation Crowding-Out,” American Economic Review 87 (1997): 746; and Howard Kunreuther and Douslar Easterling, “Are Risk-Benefit Tradeoffs Possible in Siting Hazardous Facilities?” American Economic Review (Papers and Proceedings) 80 (1990): 252–286, describe empirical studies where communities became less willing to accept undesirable public facilities (Not in My Back Yard or NIMBY) when offered compensation, relative to when the arguments made were policy based on the common weal; Uri Gneezy and Aldo Rustichini, “A Fine Is a Price,” Journal of Legal Studies 29 (2000): 1, found that introducing a fine for tardy pickup of kindergarten kids increased, rather than decreased, the tardiness of parents, and once the sense of social obligation was lost to the sense that it was “merely” a transaction, the parents continued to be late at pickup, even after the fine was removed.
  6. James S. Coleman, “Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital,” American Journal of Sociology 94, supplement (1988): S95, S108. For important early contributions to this literature, see Mark Granovetter, “The Strength of Weak Ties,” American Journal of Sociology 78 (1973): 1360; Mark Granovetter, Getting a Job: A Study of Contacts and Careers (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1974); Yoram Ben- Porath, “The F-Connection: Families, Friends and Firms and the Organization of Exchange,” Population and Development Review 6 (1980): 1.
  7. Nan Lin, Social Capital: A Theory of Social Structure and Action (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 150–151.
  8. Steve Weber, The Success of Open Source (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004).
  9. Maurice Godelier, The Enigma of the Gift, trans. Nora Scott (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999), 5.
  10. Godelier, The Enigma, 106.
  11. In the legal literature, Robert Ellickson, Order Without Law: How Neighbors Settle Disputes (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1991), is the locus classicus for showing how social norms can substitute for law. For a bibliography of the social norms literature outside of law, see Richard H. McAdams, “The Origin, Development, and Regulation of Norms,” Michigan Law Review 96 (1997): 338n1, 339n2. Early contributions were: Edna Ullman-Margalit, The Emergence of Norms (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977); James Coleman, “Norms as Social Capital,” in Economic Imperialism: The Economic Approach Applied Outside the Field of Economics, ed. Peter Bernholz and Gerard Radnitsky (New York: Paragon House Publishers, 1987), 133–155; Sally E. Merry, “Rethinking Gossip and Scandal,” in Toward a Theory of Social Control, Fundamentals, ed. Donald Black (New York: Academic Press, 1984).
  12. On policing, see Robert C. Ellickson, “Controlling Chronic Misconduct in City Spaces: Of Panhandlers, Skid Rows, and Public-Space Zoning,” Yale Law Journal 105 (1996): 1165, 1194–1202; and Dan M. Kahan, “Between Economics and Sociology: The New Path of Deterrence,” Michigan Law Review 95 (1997): 2477.
  13. An early and broad claim in the name of commons in resources for communication and transportation, as well as human community building—like roads, canals, or social-gathering places—is Carol Rose, “The Comedy of the Commons: Custom, Commerce, and Inherently Public Property,” University Chicago Law Review 53 (1986): 711. Condensing around the work of Elinor Ostrom, a more narrowly defined literature developed over the course of the 1990s: Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990). Another seminal study was James M. Acheson, The Lobster Gangs of Maine (New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1988). A brief intellectual history of the study of common resource pools and common property regimes can be found in Charlotte Hess and Elinor Ostrom, “Ideas, Artifacts, Facilities, and Content: Information as a Common-Pool Resource,” Law & Contemporary Problems (2003): 111.

Part Two. The Political Economy of Property and Commons

Chapter 5.

Chapter 6.

Chapter 7.

Chapter 8.

Chapter 9.

Chapter 10.

Part Three. Policies of Freedom at a Moment of Transformation

Chapter 11.

Chapter 12.