David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Ethics and Information Technology 14 (2):109-121 (2012)
This paper argues that intellectual property rights are incompatible with Rawls’s principles of justice. This conclusion is based upon an analysis of the social stratification that emerges as a result of the patent mechanism which defines a marginalized group and ensure that its members remain alienated from the rights, benefits, and freedoms afforded by the patent product. This stratification is further complicated, so I argue, by the copyright mechanism that restricts and redistributes those rights already distributed by means of the patent mechanism. I argue that the positions of privilege established through both the patent and the copyright mechanisms are positions that do not “allow the most extensive liberty compatible with a like liberty for all.” They do not “benefit the least advantaged.” Nor are they “open to all under conditions of fair equality of opportunity.” In making this argument I critically assess the utilitarian defense of intellectual property rights and find it insufficient to respond to the injustices manifest in our current arrangement for the protection of intellectual property rights.
|Keywords||Intellectual property rights Rawls Principles of justice Patent Copyright|
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References found in this work BETA
Robert Nozick (1974). Anarchy, State and Utopia. Basic Books.
John Rawls (2009/2005). A Theory of Justice. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Philosophy and Rhetoric. Oxford University Press 133-135.
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Shoshana Altschuller & Raquel Benbunan-Fich (2009). Is Music Downloading the New Prohibition? What Students Reveal Through an Ethical Dilemma. Ethics and Information Technology 11 (1):49-56.
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