The textbook definition of a public good is something that is both nonexcludable and nonrival
in consumption--that means the cost does not go up when there are more people.
But rarely are the interests on rights holders' side of the ledger framed in terms of the actual diverse mix of interests served by IP protections--they are framed largely in terms of an increasingly discredited theory that authors, inventors, and celebrities need monetary incentives in order to invest time and energy into the production of nonrival
, intangible goods.
In this sense, these models depart from the traditional assumption that innovative technological knowledge is nonrival
Public goods' are distinguished by being nonrival
in intellectual property, the information itself is nonrival
, but the
tend to be public goods--goods that are nonrival
3) In the technical language of economics, a public good is a nonrival
and nonexcludable resource.
As Christopher Yoo put it, "As long as products are differentiated, the conflicts between access and incentives identified in the current literature [on copyrights] will arise whether consumption is rival or nonrival
Before Bitcoin, all digital goods were nonrival
and not scarce--they could be reproduced endlessly at virtually zero marginal cost and consumed simultaneously.
A public good is something whose consumption is nonrival
(the consumption by one individual does not reduce the consumption of another) and nonexcludable (no consumer, including free riders, can be excluded).
Potentially, the information might be considered a public good because consumption is nonrival
and excluding those who do not pay for the services would be difficult.
Because of the nonrival
nature of a piece of knowledge, the more broadly the knowledge is used, the greater its value will be.