C.II.4.5 Commons Theory

On May 7-9, 2007, the Max Planck Institute, in collaboration with the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford Law School, held a “Workshop on Commons Theory for Young Scholars”. The increasing commodification of information production has led to a broad debate in intellectual property, communications, broadcasting, media, contract and privacy law, as well as in Internet governance, about whether self-governed “commons” are a feasible and desirable alternative institutional arrangement. This debate includes analyses of the open source movement and a fresh interest in calibrating the boundary between intellectual property rights and the public domain. It also focuses on the privatization of Internet governance, network neutrality rules in telecommunications law, the propertization of the radio frequency spectrum, as well as on media concentration. Theoretical work on these issues attempts to develop a general “commons theory” that underlies and unifies these problems.

The workshop was intended to advance this debate in Europe. It was modeled after the “Stanford/Yale Junior Faculty Forum“, a yearly event organized by the law schools of Stanford and Yale University. The goal of the workshop, which was organized by Stefan Bechtold, was to enable young scholars (i.e., Ph.D. students, postdocs and assistant professors) from various countries to present their work and receive feedback from senior scholars. For this purpose, Professor Lawrence Lessig (Stanford Law School) and Professor Tim Wu (Columbia Law School) attended the workshop.

Following a public call for papers, we received 56 submissions (12 from the U.S., 9 from India, 8 from Germany, 18 from other European countries, 3 from South America, 3 from Asia, 2 from Israel, 1 from South Africa). Out of these submissions, we invited seven scholars to present their work. Including the work from some additionally invited presenters, the following papers were presented during the workshop:

Stefan Bechtold / Andreas Glöckner / Stephan Tontrup, Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Germany: Anticommons and Endowment Effects

Rosa Castro Bernieri, University of Bologna Law School, Italy: Liability Rules in Intellectual Property Protection: A Law-and-Economics Analysis

Filomena Chirico, Tilburg University Law School, The Netherlands: Net Neutrality and European Law

Brett Frischmann, Loyola University of Chicago Law School, U.S.A.: IP, Pooling Arrangements, and Constructed Environments

James Grimmelmann, Yale Law School, U.S.A.: Commons Governance and the Virtues of the Commons

Scott Hemphill, Columbia Law School, U.S.A.: Extraction and Innovation Policy Lawrence Lessig, Stanford Law School, U.S.A.: Comments on Commons

Guy Pessach, Hebrew University Law School, Israel: The Political Economy of Digitized Cultural Preservation – A Case Study for a Unified Commons Theory

Clara Sattler, Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law, Germany: Synthetic Biology and IP

David Schorr, Tel Aviv University Law School, Israel: Commons and Anticommons: Tragedy, Comedy or Morality Play?

Tim Wu, Columbia Law School, U.S.A.: Tolerated Use & the Return of Notice-Based Copyright