Napster, AIDs and Intellectual Property

Please note: the first day of class is Monday August 31

by David K. Levine
Controversy surrounds the downloading of music over the internet, and the aggressive response of the RIAA to protect their copyrights. Included in this is the lawsuit against Grokster, and the bringing of lawsuits against individual music lovers. Also controversial is the patent protection afforded AIDs drugs, resulting in such high prices that they are unavailable in Africa, the area most devastated by AIDs.  Copyrights and patents are justified in the U.S. Consitution by Article I Section 8: "The Congress shall have Power To... to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." The goal of this seminar is to examine from an economic perspective to what extent modern intellectual property law does in fact "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts."

PREREQUISITES: NONE. Enrollment limited to 15.

TEXT: We will use the online draft of Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine. Classroom discussion/lecture will use slides that you can download. There are also sample presentation slides.

MEETINGS: The class will meet six times roughly every other week. Meetings are on Mondays 4-5:30 pm at a location to be determined. 


PROJECT: You will be divided into four groups. Each group will choose a topic, and make a 1/2 hour oral presentation. Tentative topics this quarter: