There are interesting facts about Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) in a number of fields like agriculture and genetic resources, protection of traditional knowledge, and the role of copyrights in software and the internet. Economists should find the discussion of internet copyrights especially fertile ground for research. For example, various researches raise concerns about the potential for European database protection and copyright-related restraints on fair use of research and teaching materials to limit access of scientists and students in developing countries to electronic materials. At the same time, well-structured copyrights could expand the scope for beneficial price discrimination in such materials.
Economists claim that the scholarly discussion about intellectual property has two main weaknesses. First, it takes for granted that file-sharing technologies can be—and are—used for the purposes of producing content as well as consuming it, without articulating explicitly the connections and implications for writing, creativity, and production online. Second, it tends to center too myopically on classroom uses and practices, and too little on public discourse about copyright and intellectual property. While reviewing the scholarly work about authorship Economists states that it falls along three lines of inquiry: authorship as a construct, which archeologically examines the historic formation of the author; digital authorship, which shows how the idea of authorship is called into question when considered in the context of computing and online practices; and authorship “code,” which critiques corporate authorship and the use of computer code to block access to content (e.g., digital rights management or DRM). (Reyman, 2010) Economists are primarily concerned with the public discourse regarding file sharing, as found in legal briefs, the written opinions of the