Natural Intellectual Property Rights and the Public Domain
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No natural rights theory justi⥳ strong intellectual property rights.More speci⣡lly, no theory within the entire domain of natural rights thinking ^ encompassing classical liberalism, libertarianism and left-libertarianism, in all their innumerable variants ^ coherently supports strengthening current intellectual property rights. Despite their many important diᥲences, all these natural rights theories endorse some set ofmembers of a common family of basic ethical precepts. These commitments include non-interference, fairness, non-worsening, consistency, universalisability, prior consent, self-ownership, self-governance, and the establishment of zones of autonomy. Such commitments have clear applications pertaining to the use and ownership of created ideas. I argue that each of these commitments require intellectual property rights to be substantially limited in scope, strength and duration. In this way the core mechanisms of natural rights thinking ensure a robust public domain and categorically rule out strong intellectual property rights.
The Modern Law Review
Copyright 2010 The Modern Law Review Limited. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. The definitive version is available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/
Intellectual Property Law