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The Myth of Free Markets: Intellectual Property, the IT Industry, and Market Freedoms in the Global Arena

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses the question: what are meant by the market freedoms, and explains the alleged underlying values that justify and perhaps animate these freedoms. The link between individual value and market freedom is the property right. Unlike physical property rights, intellectual property protects one's income or right to potential income by maintaining legal restrictions on the reproduction of the product and transfer of information. The chapter considers more specifically how intellectual property rights in software affect the freedom of individuals engaged in the production of computer software. Information technology (IT) can be seen to have promoted the globalization process. Richard Stallman?s criticism specifically underlines that intellectual property rights actually interfere with and destroy productive interaction and the social fabric that furthers the wellbeing of the community and the progress of science.

Keywords: free markets; globalization process; information technology (IT) industry; intellectual property rights; market freedoms; Richard Stallman



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