Intellectual Property and Regulation
Edited by Dinusha Mendis, Mark Lemley and Matthew Rimmer
Chapter 11: How democratized production challenges society’s ability to regulate
This chapter seeks to explain why some emerging technologies pose more problems than others. Just because a technology disrupts and democratizes a practice does not make the change good. Technologies such as 3D printing and Crispr/Cas9 may help improve society and also increase the risk of catastrophic outcomes. These technologies may force changes in tort or contract law and in regulatory systems such as the Food and Drug Act or Environmental Protection Act. But emphasis on the law alone misses the larger point. Cost and ease alter risk management. Many can find out how to build a nuclear bomb, but the costs to build one are high. In contrast, new technologies promise to wed powerful, widespread knowledge with low production cost so that someone can engage in sophisticated creation in the proverbial garage. Such technology forces us to rethink the tools and nature of governance and regulation in the 21st century.
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