Learning from Lin: Lessons and Cautions from the Natural Commons for the Knowledge Commons
Governing Knowledge Commons, edited by Brett Frischmann, Michael Madison and Kathy Strandberg (Oxford University Press, 2014).
25 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2014 Last revised: 11 Sep 2014
Date Written: May 2014
Intellectual Property (IP) scholars increasingly are turning to the works and analytical frameworks of Elinor ("Lin") Ostrom in an effort to determine the best property/regulatory regime(s) for governing various kinds of information in different contexts. This paper serves as a general introduction to Lin's Institutional Analysis & Development (IAD) framework, with special attention to IP applications. The paper also contains a couple of important cautions for IP scholars seeking to use the IAD framework. First, the framework is not very useful for normative purposes (determining what the legal rules should be), but is more for diagnostic, and sometimes predictive, purposes. Second, applying the framework to information is very different from applying it to natural common-pool resources (CPRs). In natural CPRs, open-access is usually the problem to be resolved through collective-action. With respect to information, by contrast, many scholars consider open-access a viable and desirable solution to the problem of insufficient access.
Keywords: common-pool resources, institutions, IAD framework, information, knowledge, commons
JEL Classification: D70, D8, H41, K11, N5, O34, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation