Beat the Press

Dean Baker's commentary on economic reporting


No Fun With Numbers: Another Cost of Intellectual Property

The Times had a piece this morning about how Major League Baseball is suing to prevent fantasy baseball games from using players' statistics without paying a licensing fee.

The article tried to be fair in presenting the views of both parties as well as independent legal scholars. What is missing from the discussion is any independent economic analysis. The lack of economic analysis in articles on efforts to extend intellectual property has been an ongoing problem in the media (read the discussions of the legal battles over Napster and related services). This would be comparable to reporting on the debates over agricultural protections without ever referring to their economic costs.

The economics profession has not been very good in its treatment of intellectual property (IP) issues, but that should not give the media an excuse to ignore the often sizable economic impact of IP controversies.


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