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This book examines the evolution and impact of American intellectual property rights during the 'long nineteenth century', which also compares the American system to development in France and Britain. The United States created the first modern patent system and its politics were the most liberal in the world toward inventors.
When markets expanded, these inventors contributed to the proliferation of new technologies and improvements. Individuals who did not have the resources to directly exploit their inventions benefited disproportionately from the operation of efficient markets that allowed them to specialize and sell off their rights. In contrast to its leadership in the area of patents, the US copyright regime was among the weakest in the world.
American patent and copyright institutions promoted a process of democratization that not only furthered economic and technological progress but also provided a conduit for the creativity and achievements of disadvantaged groups.