From the Wright Brothers to microsoft: Issues in the moral grounding of intellectual property rights

Business Ethics Quarterly 16 (4):579-598 (2006)
Abstract
Abstract: This paper considers the arguments that could support the proposition that intellectual property rights as applied to software have a moral basis. Undeniably, ownership rights were first applied to chattels and land and so we begin by considering the moral basis of these rights. We then consider if these arguments make moral sense when they are extended to intellectual phenomenon. We identified two principal moral defenses: one based on utilitarian concerns relating to human welfare, the other appeals to issues of individual autonomy and private control. We conclude that intellectual property rights could not be defended from a moral perspective that emphasizes autonomy and individual control because copyright and patent restrict fundamental freedoms to transfer and redistribute one’s property. We also find it difficult to defend intellectual property in software from a utilitarian perspective because of the current structure of the market. We mention two characteristics of the software market that make it distinct and promote monopolistic conditions and excessive profit taking: the facility of replication, and the need for compatibility in operating systems. We conclude that there are good reasons to reverse the current market’s structure. We suggest three possible remedies. The government could rigorously enforce antitrust legislation, impose greater monitoring and price controls, or obviate the commercial aspect altogether by denying the application of intellectual property rights to software
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 11,365
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Citations of this work BETA
Wade M. Chumney & Tammy W. Cowart (2010). Iethics. Journal of Business Ethics 93 (3):471-482.
Similar books and articles
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

7 ( #188,016 of 1,102,744 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #46,741 of 1,102,744 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.