RICHARDSON, Texas (Aug. 2, 2004) – A new research center is being established at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) to study intellectual property rights and related issues in the expanding digital domain – one of the first such think tanks in the country.
The Center for the Analysis of Property Rights and Innovation (CAPRI) opened its doors today in UTD’s School of Management. The organization’s director is Dr. Stan Liebowitz, professor of managerial economics.
“Property rights are the center of civilization – without them mankind would never have moved beyond the hunter-gatherer stage,” said Liebowitz. “And intellectual property, with its attending protections like copyrights and patents, is a major engine of innovation.
“However, in recent years, new technologies have threatened to upend the functioning of these rights. New institutions and rules for operating in the digital realm, which will have an important impact on the future productivity and well-being of the citizens of our country, will be created in the next few years – and it’s important we get things right.”
The author of the acclaimed book, “Rethinking the Network Economy: The True Forces that Drive the Digital Market Place,” Liebowitz has conducted groundbreaking research on the economic effects of piracy on digital media, such as the illegal downloading of music from the Internet. He and other experts participated in a forum on the subject last fall at Harvard University, sponsored by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, one of the few other centers in the United States studying issues of digital technology and the so-called “new economy.”
According to Liebowitz, academic research will be the primary aim of CAPRI. The center will award grants to faculty members at UTD and other universities to write research papers on subjects such as open source software, peer-to-peer file sharing, common property ownership of intellectual creations and digital rights management, among others.
“Five years ago, virtually no scholars were looking at these issues,” Liebowitz said. “This is an evolving field, and the establishment of CAPRI signals UTD’s desire to become a source of knowledge and understanding of property rights in the digital realm. As our research bears fruit in coming years, we hope to make our mark on the intellectual landscape.”
Liebowitz has already solicited members of the UTD faculty and has “more proposals than we can fund at this time.” He hopes to announce the first set of grants shortly and, down the road, perhaps hold a conference to discuss the results of the research.
According to Liebowitz, the School of Management has plans to hire additional researchers with expertise that would enhance the center’s output.
To date, CAPRI has received funding from Microsoft Corporation and the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, and hopes to announce a grant from a leading firm in the electronics and home entertainment market in the near future. Liebowitz is seeking funds from other potential donors, including individuals in the North Texas region interested in property rights issues.
A board of advisors will provide guidance to the new center. Its members include Dr. Richard Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and the Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution; Dr. Jacques Lawarree, a current employee of Microsoft Corporation on leave from the University of Washington, where he is an associate professor of economics; Dr. Stephen Margolis, a professor of economics at North Carolina State University; and Dr. Harvey Rosenblum, senior vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
For additional information on CAPRI, please visit the center’s web site, http://som.utdallas.edu/capri/index.htm.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 13,700 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.