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Property rights are laws governments create that enable investors to control, benefit from, and transfer property.

According to economic theory, economic success partially depends on how well governments enforce property rights. Property rights encourage individuals to create or buy property in an effort to generate wealth. Buying a home entitles the owner to lease, resell or use that home in the legal manner she wants. If someone can take that home away, or if property rights won’t protect the owner from another's unlawful actions, why buy the home?

Weak property rights can also restrict an economy. For example, a business might be interested in opening operations in a foreign land. But if the local government can expropriate that business for the government's own purposes without proper compensation, the business will likely look elsewhere.

Data, pictures, music, computer codes and other creations may exist solely in a digital environment. While physical property rights have been established over centuries, digital property rights are less defined.

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