A creation of the mind that is considered by law to be the private property of an individual or organization.
(Matt Ratto, Toronto, FIS1210)
Intellectual property laws make it illegal for people to make copies of information goods without the permission of the owner of that information. Some examples of intellectual property laws are those surrounding patents, copyright and trade secrets.
Intellectual property laws are considered necessary, by most people, because information goods, unlike other goods, is often costless to reproduce. The cost associated with creating the information all goes into the creation of the first copy, in the form of the time and energy spent by the creator(s). In the absence of intellectual property laws, the owner of a best-selling book could create copies of it and distribute them at almost no cost.
Proponents of intellectual property laws argue that if individuals were allowed to freely copy information, there would be no economic incentive to create information goods in the first place, as there would be no possible way of profiting from their creation.