David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Law and Philosophy 28 (4):393 - 427 (2009)
Intellectual property typically involves claims of ownership of types, rather than particulars. In this article I argue that this difference in ontology makes an important moral difference. In particular I argue that there cannot be an intrinsic moral right to own intellectual property. I begin by establishing a necessary condition for the justification of intrinsic moral rights claims, which I call the Rights Justification Principle. Briefly, this holds that if we want to claim that there is an intrinsic moral right to φ, we must be able to show that (a) violating this right would typically result in either a wrongful harm or other significant wrong to the holder of the right, and (b) the wrongful harm or other wrong in question is independent of the existence of the intrinsic right we are trying to justify. I then argue that merely creating a new instance of a type is not the kind of action which can wrongfully harm the creator of that type. Insofar as there do seem to be wrongs involved in copying a published poem or computer program, these wrongs presuppose the existence of an intrinsic right to own intellectual property, and so cannot be used to justify it. I conclude that there cannot be an intrinsic right to own intellectual property.
|Keywords||Philosophy Political Science Law Theory/Law Philosophy Philosophy of Law|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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
Joel Feinberg (1987). Harm to Others. Philosophical Review 96 (2):295-298.
Amartya Sen (2004). Elements of a Theory of Human Rights. Philosophy and Public Affairs 32 (4):315 - 356.
Amartya Sen (1982). Rights and Agency. Philosophy and Public Affairs 11 (1):3-39.
Stephen Wilkinson (2003). Bodies for Sale: Ethics and Exploitation in the Human Body Trade. Routledge.
Joel Feinberg (1988). Harmless Wrongdoing. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
Citations of this work BETA
Bryan Cwik (2014). Labor as the Basis for Intellectual Property Rights. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4):681-695.
Cristian Timmermann & Zoë Robaey (2016). Agrobiodiversity Under Different Property Regimes. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 29 (2):285-303.
Jukka Varelius (2015). Is the Non-Rivalrousness of Intellectual Objects a Problem for the Moral Justification of Economic Rights to Intellectual Property? Science and Engineering Ethics 21 (4):895-906.
Jukka Varelius (2014). Is the Expiration of Intellectual Property Rights a Problem for Non-Consequentialist Theories of Intellectual Property? Res Publica 20 (4):345-357.
Similar books and articles
David Lea (2006). From the Wright Brothers to Microsoft: Issues in the Moral Grounding of Intellectual Property Rights. Business Ethics Quarterly 16 (4):579-598.
James Wilson (2010). Ontology and the Regulation of Intellectual Property. The Monist 93 (3):450-463.
Paul Steidlmeier (1993). The Moral Legitimacy of Intellectual Property Claims: American Business and Developing Country Perspectives. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 12 (2):157 - 164.
J. M. Elegido (1995). Intrinsic Limitations of Property Rights. Journal of Business Ethics 14 (5):411 - 416.
Hugh Breakey (2010). Natural Intellectual Property Rights and the Public Domain. Modern Law Review 73 (2):208-239.
Betty Yung (2009). Reflecting on the Common Discourse on Piracy and Intellectual Property Rights: A Divergent Perspective. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 87 (1):45 - 57.
Rivka Amado & Nevin M. Gewertz (2004). Intellectual Property and the Pharmaceutical Industry: A Moral Crossroads Between Health and Property. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 55 (3):295 - 308.
Nevin M. Gewertz & Rivka Amado (2004). Intellectual Property and the Pharmaceutical Industry: A Moral Crossroads Between Health and Property. [REVIEW] Journal of Business Ethics 55 (3):295 - 308.
D. B. Resnik (2003). A Pluralistic Account of Intellectual Property. Journal of Business Ethics 46 (4):319 - 335.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads91 ( #45,100 of 1,902,204 )
Recent downloads (6 months)8 ( #96,938 of 1,902,204 )
How can I increase my downloads?