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What do you think is information in this digital age? From a technical point of view information in the current era is anything that can be digitized or encoded in a stream of bits can be tagged information. It can be text (words you are reading now), graphics (photos, art forms etc), sound (music, voice etc) or video (animation, movies, music videos etc) or any other mixed form of the above mentioned forms as multimedia. It is a known fact that information has value, some have business value some entertainment value or any other value. It can’t also be denied that consumers differ greatly in how they value particular information good.

Information is termed as a “pure public good”, what does this pure public good connotes? A pure public good is that type of good which is non-rival and non-exclusive (also called non-excludable). Non rival is that quality by which one person’s consumption does not diminish the amount available to other person and non exclusive signifies that one person cannot exclude another person from consuming it. A clichéd example is of the road lamps it is available to all and one person’s consumption doesn’t disturb anyone in anyway. But legal and technical implication may forbid someone from enjoying a likely public good as in TV broadcast.

To supplement to public good, information without doubt is experience good. It must be experienced before we can value it. In this context, every new product is experience good. Example any published article, music, movies etc. So why do copyright and other intellectual property rights counterparts forbid information to be solely bought and commercialized? Can’t the creators and assemblers of the public and experience qualitative information goods sought after alternate ways to keep the public good in the public domain, by which the value of the information will definitely escalate as every commoner will be able to experience, share and amplify the use of that particular information?

The answer may lie in use of Creative Commons (CC) licenses like share alike, attribution, no commercial use etc. It can’t also be denied that “information is costly and hard to produce but easy and cheap to reproduce.” With the advent of the internet the distribution cost and distribution time has been reduced drastically. The fact that all the cost for producing information is sunk (can’t be recovered if product fails) and demand side economies of scale may also be aspects to opt for strict legal jurisdiction. But it is a tested and proven fact that information has highest value when used by more number of people. So easing off the legal constrictions and leaving the information goods in the public domain will add to its value, as more people will use it and every commoner will benefit from it.

Geshan Manandhar
Around 475 Words
Creative Commons License
Information is Public good, why Copyright? by Geshan Manandhar is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.
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