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).

Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 298

25 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2014 Last revised: 11 Sep 2014

See all articles by Daniel H. Cole

Daniel H. Cole

Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Date Written: May 2014

Abstract

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

Cole, Daniel H., Learning from Lin: Lessons and Cautions from the Natural Commons for the Knowledge Commons (May 2014). Governing Knowledge Commons, edited by Brett Frischmann, Michael Madison and Kathy Strandberg (Oxford University Press, 2014)., Indiana Legal Studies Research Paper No. 298, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2474492 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2474492

Daniel H. Cole (Contact Author)

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs ( email )

1315 East Tenth Street
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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