When to Open Infrastructure Access

Mandel, Gregory N.
May 2008
Ecology Law Quarterly;2008, Vol. 35 Issue 2, p205
Academic Journal
This Essay comments on and develops Professor Brett Frischmann's concept of infrastructure commons, a theory which suggests that a variety of public and social resources (including information, transportation, environmental, and intellectual property resources) should be managed through open access regimes. Infrastructure theory remains underdeveloped, as it does not identify under which circumstances public and social infrastructure should be managed as commons or how the commons should operate for such resources. Differentiating the developmental stage of an infrastructure resource-whether it is yet to be conceived, yet to be produced, or needs to be managed-can help to fill this gap. Infrastructure at different stages of development poses different challenges for optimizing social value, and the nature and strength of rationales supporting open access vary significantly across the different infrastructure stages. This Essay is based on a presentation at a panel on infrastructure commons at the Law & Society Annual Conference in Berlin, Germany.


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