Michael Heller’s Gridlock Economy popularizes a concept that Heller has developed over nearly two decades of influential academic writing: the notion that, when it comes to property rights, too many rights-endowed cooks really can spoil the broth. I was asked in this conference to apply Heller’s insight to the Google Book Search project, and the request at first seemed natural. Heller himself has suggested that Google Book Search might be an apt poster child for the gridlock phenomenon; and Google likewise can often be heard to complain, in Heller-esque tones, that the only way to build a comprehensive search engine for books is to take the books without asking.
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53 Ariz. L. Rev. 213 (2011). Kevin Werbach, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and...