Intellectual property rights and chinese tradition section: Philosophical foundations [Book Review]

Journal of Business Ethics 69 (1):1 - 9 (2006)
Western attempts to obtain Chinese compliance with intellectual property rights have a long history of failure. Most discussions of the problem focus on either legal comparisons or explanations arising from levels of economic development (based primarily on the example of U.S. disregard for such rights during the 18th and 19th centuries). After decades of heated negotiation, intellectual property rights is still one of the major issues of misunderstanding between the West and the various Chinese political entities. This paper examines the sources of this problem from the standpoint of traditional Chinese social and political philosophy (specifically Neo-Confucianism). It points out that the basic assumptions about the nature of intellectual property, which arose during the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe, are fundamentally at odds with the traditional Chinese view of the role of intellectuals in society. It suggests that policies which do not take these differences into account, but which attempt to transfer Western legal concepts without the underlying social constructs are responsible for much of the lack of success in the area of intellectual property rights.
Keywords China  intellectual property rights  Neo-Confucianism  confucian ethics  Chinese ethics  copyright
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