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The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  83 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
From the shopping mall to the corner bistro, knockoffs are everywhere in today's marketplace. Conventional wisdom holds that copying kills creativity, and that laws that protect against copies are essential to innovation--and economic success. But are copyrights and patents always necessary? In The Knockoff Economy, Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman provocatively argu ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published September 17th 2012 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published July 18th 2012)
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Jul 29, 2012 Birgit rated it really liked it
On first look The Knockoff Economy by Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman seems to deal with many an economist's favorite topic - the omnipresent cheap imitations of goods in today's global market. On second look the authors present so much more which was not only a pleasant surprise, but also a wildly fascinating, well researched and engagingly written journey through the wide world of patents, trademarks and copyright.
Did you know that a painting of a molten chocolate cake is protected by c
Erika RS
Mar 26, 2016 Erika RS rated it really liked it
As copying becomes easier, fast and cheap copies are going to appear in more domains. Although copyright is important, the assumptions that it was built upon are becoming outdated. In this book, the authors looked at several industries that are thriving despite little to no copyright protections. The goal of the authors is to not argue that copyright should be removed, but rather to provide data points that might be useful in reconsidering copyright laws in the modern era.

In industries such as f
Apr 12, 2015 Jonathan rated it really liked it
A brilliant book that takes common topics--such as comedy, fashion, football, and cooking--and makes you look at them in a new light. This book provides an effective critique of our overly protective system of intellectual property. The authors look at markets where protection from copyrights/patents is weak, yet creativity flourishes. Using many engaging, real-world examples, the authors illustrate how copying and creativity co-exist; and they go one step further to emphasize how piracy catalyz ...more
Fred Zimny
Dec 18, 2015 Fred Zimny rated it liked it
Copying and imitation do not need to stifle creativity and innovation.

Copying can serve as a foundation for creativity.

Copying current inventions and tweaking them can lead to new innovations.

Social norms can self-regulate copying without the need for intellectual property regulations.

In the future, competition will drive innovation through tweaking.

Creativity itself will live on, even if some businesses will not.

Copying is not going away, so business needs to harness the power of imitation to b
Eustacia Tan
Jul 03, 2012 Eustacia Tan rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I don't know why, but I enjoy reading books like this. They're not strictly business/economics textbooks, but they're much more interesting than the normal treatise. If I remember correctly, the last similar book I read was Overdressed by Elizabeth E. Cline. (and I have another one waiting to be read. I think).

The Knockoff Economy aims to examine the link between Copying and Innovation, and if copying has an effect on the industry itself. In the face of conventional wisdom, the book shows that
Aug 31, 2012 Nick rated it it was amazing
Very interesting and up-to-date examination of the interplay between intellectual property and copying, counterfeiting, etc.

I really enjoyed their discussion of industries that have weak or nonexistent IP protection but continue to thrive and innovate in ways that are supposedly impossible if you listen to the propaganda of the music and recording (and in some cases software) industries. The use of restaurants as an example was particularly good, because as someone who works in an IP-heavy indus
Jun 21, 2012 R.Z. rated it it was amazing
These authors give readers a very detailed description of the clothing design and manufacturing business with many anecdotes and company names to illustrate their argument. Where copyright and trademark purports to protect writing, music, logos, packaging, and many other original creations, clothing design has little such protection. Certain images sewn separately upon the clothing may be protected, but the over-all design of the garment itself holds no such protection. It can be freely copied, ...more
Alex Devero
Mar 12, 2015 Alex Devero rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
People often picture copyright laws as the shield that protects innovators from pirates who would destroy creative industry. However, copying isn’t a bane. In fact, it’s a boon to creative fields! Imitation, copying and tweaking are the foundation for innovation in today’s world.
Apr 24, 2015 Shawn rated it really liked it
This is a strong book that fits in well with the "Remix and Appropriation" course I teach at UW-Madison. The authors do well to discuss borrowing/appropriation/copying in some fresh ways in fashion, food, football, and fonts, among other areas. I found it a little repetitive in spots, though.
Adam Shields
Nov 27, 2012 Adam Shields rated it really liked it
Short Review: The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation-This is an interesting look at parts of the economy where copyright and patent law do not apply, yet creativity is thriving. Why it works in those areas and why it may (or may not) work in other areas where copyright and patent law do apply. Quite readable. The primary illustrations are in the areas of food, fashion, football, comedy, magic & open-source software. The book ends with an epilogue that looks at music and movies ...more
Rubi Breton
Too repetitive.

Great ideas but the authors try to pass them on by repeating the same theories and examples. It get boring after a while.
Feb 14, 2013 Martín rated it really liked it
An insightful book that challenges the conventional wisdom regarding Intellectual Property as the required incentive to create. It also works as a nice complement to one of W. Patry's thesis in How to Fix Copyright, which states that it is time to rethink the one-size-fits-all regulatory protection for intellectual property. What this book proves is that IP needs to be rethinked to adopt regulatory solutions that take into consideration the nature of the corresponding product/service/industry an ...more
Jul 07, 2015 Tapan added it
Very Practical and one of the best read
Aug 29, 2012 GONZA rated it really liked it
This book was amazing first of all because it gives a different point of view and then because it gives so many examples in all the field, from music and games to clothing that it was very easy to understand even if I'm not very strong on economy related issues.

Nov 01, 2012 Sean rated it really liked it
Shelves: law, kindle, non-fiction, work
A lot of good analysis, although at times felt naïve. Would recommend reading though although with Megan McArdle’s thoughts in The Daily Beast, “What Would IP Free Industries Look Like? Probably Not Like Restaurants.”
Sep 02, 2014 Samantha rated it liked it
The first half read like a wannabe Malcolm Gladwell novel - very repetitive to the point of snoozeville. The second half was much more interesting. I especially loved the restaurants and recipes chapter.
Sep 09, 2013 ACRL added it
Shelves: motw
Read by ACRL Member of the Week William M. Cross. Learn more about William on the ACRL Insider blog.
Interesting and informative, although I got a little bored towards the end of the book. But I admit it offers me a new perspective on copying and imitating.
Claudio Ruiz
Feb 11, 2013 Claudio Ruiz rated it liked it
Buena la idea pero se vuelve un poco monótono. Debió ser mucho más corto, un ensayo.
Nov 13, 2012 Lyn rated it it was ok
Interesting idea, great examples, poorly edited and repetitive.
Sep 17, 2015 Zoubir rated it really liked it
Just another awesome freakonomics-alike book.
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