‘The Debauched Commons: A Dark Parable’ summarizes issues regarding intellectual property rights and immaterial culture through a nuanced reading of how First Nations Peoples worldwide have been forced by forms of neoliberal-capitalist exploitation of the knowledge commons to ring-fence and/or commodify their lived traditions, in many cases dating back 100,000 years and clearly predating any and all Western (First World) concepts of ownership. The intention of the structuralist-inspired reading of this enforced defensive position is to emphasize and clarify issues concerning (...) prior art and moral rights, two of the most ambiguous and gamed elements of copyright and patent law. Drawing upon the international context of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) and the Convention for Safeguarding Intangible Heritage (2003), this essay will focus, in part, on the travails of Aboriginals in Australia as representative of First Peoples worldwide and their long-exploited and long-expropriated traditions, inclusive of land, but foremost lived knowledge, but also their often compromised position vis-à-vis various Australian state and Commonwealth legislation concerning recognition of their copyright, moral rights, and intellectual property rights. In this complex dance between tradition, heritage, and law, the so-called public domain often also becomes a de facto warehouse for the eventual conversion of intangible rights to collectively held and stored cultural property, which is then leveraged and/or converted to cultural capital by both public institutions and private companies. The primary premise of the analytic to be applied is that commodification of knowledge is more or less co-equal to the digitization of culture and the regimes of expropriation and/or outright theft associated with platform cultures. Platform culture, in turn, implicates otherwise benign, or apparently benign institutions (for example, academia and the art world) claiming to advance understanding and resolution of the twin nemeses of post-contemporary cultural politics – diversity and justice. The subtle machinations of what has come to be called the art-academic industrial complex will thus be analyzed for implicit and explicit practices that are reducible to the appropriation of native rites and rights, and laws and lores, for self-serving reasons inclusive of radical-chic posturing and politically correct tokenism. (shrink)
Introduction: There is currently no binding, internationally accepted and successful approach to ensure global equitable access to healthcare during a pandemic. The aim of this ethical analysis is to bring into the discussion a legally regulated vaccine allocation as a possible strategy for equitable global access to vaccines. We focus our analysis on COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access) and an existing EU regulation that, after adjustment, could promote global vaccine allocation. -/- Methods: The main documents discussing the two strategies are (...) examined with a qualitative content analysis. The ethical values reasonableness, openness and transparency, inclusiveness, responsiveness and accountability serve as categories for our ethical analysis. -/- Results: We observed that the decision-making processes in a legal solution to expand access to vaccines would be more transparent than in COVAX initiative, would be more inclusive, especially of nation states, and the values responsiveness and accountability could be easily incorporated in the development of a new regulation. -/- Discussion: A legal strategy that offers incentives to the pharmaceutical industry in return for global distribution of vaccines according to the Fair Priority Model is an innovative way to achieve global and equitable access to vaccines. However, in the long term, achieving the Sustainable Development Goals will require from all nations to work in solidarity to find durable solutions for global vaccine research and development. Interim solutions, such as our proposed legal strategy for equitable access to vaccines, and efforts to find long-term solutions must be advanced in parallel. (shrink)
Open science (OS) is considered the new paradigm for science and knowledge dissemination. OS fosters cooperative work and new ways of distributing knowledge by promoting effective data sharing (as early and broadly as possible) and a dynamic exchange of research outcomes, not only publications. On the other hand, intellectual property (IP) legislation seeks to balance the moral and economic rights of creators and inventors with the wider interests and needs of society. Managing knowledge outcomes in a new open research and (...) innovation ecosystem is challenging and should become part of the EU’s IP strategy, underpinning EU policies with the new open science–open innovation paradigm. (shrink)
Ordinary private property rights to things like land and money are typically assumed to be permanent. In contrast, intellectual property (IP) rights usually have term limits. Copyrights, patents, and trademarks all expire by default sometime after they’re formed. I argue that ordinary property (OP) should be more like IP. Certain types of private property rights should be subject to term limits, and after expiration the property should enter a tangible public domain. First, I define private property. Second, I argue the (...) purpose of private property rights is to facilitate access to resources, goods, and services. Conceptions of private property which undermine such access are unjustified. Third, I argue that term limits and the public domain help IP rights fulfill their purpose and could do the same for OP rights. Fourth, I consider specific policy proposals which would put term limits into practice. Finally, I raise and counter potential objections. (shrink)
Citation: Marina Christodoulou, “I Own therefore I Am. The Ontology of Property”, In Why Does What Exists Exist? Some Hypotheses on the Ultimate “Why” Question, edited by Mariano L. Bianca,Paolo Piccari. Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2021, pp. 169-182. Contributors: Mariano L. Bianca, Konstantinos Boultzis, Marina Christodoulou, Maurizio Ferraris, Marco G. Giammarchi, Enrico Guglielminetti, Roberta Lanfredini, Fabio Minazzi, Crister Nyberg, Paolo Piccari, Paolo Rossi. ISBN (10): 1-5275-6294-8; ISBN (13): 978-1-5275-6294-3 -/- -------------- -/- The concept of Property is what attaches us to Existence, (...) Property, and Life, instead of non-existence, non-Being and Non-life (or Death). I occupy, I possess, I own, therefore I am, therefore I exist. I own a body, therefore, I am a being; I also own a self, therefore I am. -/- What exists exists because we have the notion, the concept, the idea, the habit of property and of ownership. There is something rather than nothing because we own it. Why private property? Because we have the notion, the concept, the idea, the habit of property and of ownership. There is private property because we need to own things, including ourselves, and we need to own because we need to sign and vice versa. (shrink)
All parties involved in researching, developing, manufacturing, and distributing COVID-19 vaccines need guidance on their ethical obligations. We focus on pharmaceutical companies' obligations because their capacities to research, develop, manufacture, and distribute vaccines make them uniquely placed for stemming the pandemic. We argue that an ethical approach to COVID-19 vaccine production and distribution should satisfy four uncontroversial principles: optimising vaccine production, including development, testing, and manufacturing; fair distribution; sustainability; and accountability. All parties' obligations should be coordinated and mutually consistent. For (...) instance, companies should not be obligated to provide host countries with additional booster shots at the expense of fulfilling bilateral contracts with countries in which there are surges. Finally, any satisfactory approach should include mechanisms for assurance that all parties are honouring their obligations. This assurance enables countries, pharmaceutical companies, global organisations, and others to verify compliance with the chosen approach and protect ethically compliant stakeholders from being unfairly exploited by unethical behaviour of others. (shrink)
In response to commentators, we argue that whether waiving patent rights will meaningfully improve access to COVID-19 vaccines for low income and middle-income countries (LMICs), particularly in the short term, is an empirical matter. We also reject preferentially allocating vaccines to countries that hosted trials because doing so unethically favours those with research infrastructure, rather than those facing the worst burdens from COVID-19.
The scope and type of property rights recognized over the effectiveness of antibiotics have a direct effect on how those claiming ownership engage in the exploitation and stewardship of this scarce resource. We examine the different property claims and rights the four major interest groups are asserting on antibiotics: (i) the inventors, (ii) those demanding that the resource be treated like any other transferable commodity, (iii) those advocating usage restrictions based on good stewardship principles and (iv) those considering the resource (...) as common heritage of humankind. (shrink)
Employing a social justice framework, this book examines the effects of innovation incentives and policies in agriculture. It addresses access to the objects of innovation, the direction of science and the type of innovations that are available, opportunities to participate in research and development, as well as effects on future generations. The book examines the potential value of preventive and reconciliatory measures, drawing on concepts from procedural and restorative justice. As such it offers a comprehensive analysis of the main social (...) justice dimensions affected by agricultural innovation. It gives academics and policy analysts an extensive overview of the deep impact of innovation on society and the environment, and the expectations the general public has from the scientific community. (shrink)
Advocates, activists, and academics have criticized pharmaceutical intellectual property ("pharma IP") rights as obstacles to access to medicines for the global poor. These criticisms of pharma IP holders are frequently exceptionalist: they focus on pharma IP holders while ignoring whether others also bear obligations to assist patients in need. These others include holders of other lucrative IP rights, such as music copyrights or technology patents; firms, such as energy companies and banks, that do not rely on IP; and wealthy private (...) individuals. Their resources could be used to aid patients by providing direct medical assistance, funding prizes or biomedical research, or purchasing pharmaceutical patents and granting rights to the disadvantaged. -/- After identifying this exceptionalism, this Article evaluates several arguments in its defense. These are that pharma IP holders are unique in (1) owning what poor patients need, (2) being in special proximity to these patients, (3) being able to assist at low cost to themselves, (4) having a professional duty to help these patients, or (5) being implicated by their past conduct in these patients' plight. It concludes that none of these arguments are compelling: while IP holders have a duty to help, this duty is not fundamentally different from the duties others owe. -/- Even though this project criticizes exceptionalism, it does not absolve pharma IP holders of duties to help the sick. Rather, it argues that spreading the costs of aiding patients in need across a greater number of market actors, via publicly funded "pull" programs like prizes and patent buyouts or "push" programs like grants, would be preferable. So would allowing pharmaceutical firms to seek contribution from others who are able to help. However, if others cannot be held to account, imposing burdens on pharma IP holders can be justified in order to promote global health: treating wealthy firms arbitrarily is preferable to ignoring the urgent needs of the global poor. (shrink)
Forcehimes poses a parity between libraries and downloading books online and concludes that the im/permissibility of one of them entails the im/permissibility of the other and vice versa. Karjiker rejects this parity arguing that the magnitudes of these two are vastly different and while libraries do not lead to a considerable market failure, downloading e-books does. In this article, I try to clarify some points, show a kind of parochialism in Karjiker’s arguments, propose a thought experiment to neutralize the magnitude (...) problem, and justify Forcehimes’ main idea. (shrink)
Intellectual property is one of the highly divisive issues in contemporary philosophical and political debates. The main objective of this paper is to explore some sources of tension between the formal rules of intellectual property (particularly copyright and patents) and the emerging informal norms of file sharing and open access in online environments. We look into the file sharing phenomena not only to illustrate the deepening gap between the two sets of norms, but to cast some doubt on the current (...) regime of intellectual property as an adequate frame for the new type of interactions in online environments. Revisiting the classic Arrow–Demsetz debate about intellectual property and the epistemological issues involved in assessing institutions, we suggest that seeking out new institutional arrangements aligned with the norms-in-use seems to be a more promising strategy in the new technological setting than attempting to reinforce the current legal framework. Moreover, such a strategy is less prone to committing the so-called ‘Nirvana fallacies’. As a secondary task, we try to cast some doubt on the two most common moral justifications of intellectual property as being able to ground the full extent of the current intellectual property regime. (shrink)
Many attempts to define privacy have been made over the last century. Early definitions and theories of privacy had little to do with the concept of information and, when they did, only in an informal sense. With the advent of information technology, the question of a precise and universally acceptable definition of privacy in this new domain became an urgent issue as legal and business problems regarding privacy started to accrue. In this paper, I propose a definition of informational privacy (...) that is simple, yet strongly tied with the concepts of information and property. Privacy thus defined is similar to intellectual property and should receive commensurate legal protection. (shrink)
Copyright is at the centre of both popular and academic debate. That emotions are running high is hardly surprising – copyright influences who contributes what to culture, how culture is used, and even the kind of persons we are and come to be. Consequentialist, Lockean, and personality interest accounts are generally advanced in the literature to morally justify copyright law. I argue that these approaches fail to ground extensive authorial rights in intellectual creations and that only a small subset of (...) the rights accorded by copyright law is justified. The pared-down version of copyright that I defend consists of the right to attribution, the right to have one’s non-endorsement of modifications or uses of one’s work explicitly noted, and the right to a share of the profit resulting from the commercial uses of one’s work. I also cursorily explore whether contribution to another person’s work gives rise to moral interests. (shrink)
Intellectual property regimes necessarily create artificial scarcity leading to wastage, both by blocking follow-up research and hindering access to those who are only able to pay less then the actual retail price. After revising the traditional arguments to hinder access to people’s intellectual labour we will examine why we should be more open to allow free-riding of inventive efforts, especially in cases where innovators have not secured the widest access to the fruits of their research and failed to cooperate with (...) follow-up innovators. We will do so by questioning the voluntariness involved in consumption of objects of innovation, restating the positive social externalities that arise when wider access to the fruits of innovation is assured, and examining the eventual harms innovators face. (shrink)
Hoy en día, el fuerte consagramiento y la expansión de la propiedad privada ha llevado al olvido a muchos métodos de gobernar recursos que no están basados en la exclusividad. Frecuentemente se escucha hablar de la propiedad como un derecho de dominio absoluto, algo inviolable que no conlleva obligaciones. Sin embargo, desde los inicios de la historia jurídica podemos observar que los derechos de propiedad han estado habitualmente acompañados de obligaciones y limitaciones, además de un mandato moral solicitando que el (...) manejo de la propiedad sea en vista al bien común. (shrink)
The controversy over genetically modified [GM] organisms is often framed in terms of possible hazards for human health. Articles in a previous volume of this *Encyclopedia* give a general overview of GM crops [@Mulvaney2014] and specifically examine human health [@Nordgard2014] and labeling [@Bruton2014] issues surrounding GM organisms. This article explores several other aspects of the controversy: environmental concerns, political and legal disputes, and the aim of "feeding the world" and promoting food security. Rather than discussing abstract, hypothetical GM organisms, this (...) article explores the consequences of the GM organisms that have actually been deployed in the particular contexts that they have been deployed, on the belief that there is little point in discussing GM organisms in an idealized or context-independent way. (shrink)
Andy Curzon replied (often quoting from the opening sections of Lester 2014, chapter 10) in an ongoing debate with Lee Waaks, which Mr Waaks forwarded (with approval) to the Libertarian Alliance Forum (27 February 2015). This response replies to the criticisms after directly quoting them (the indented text; except where Lester is occasionally quoted, as indicated). A few cuts have been made to avoid some repetition and irrelevance. However, just as Mr Curzon sometimes repeats his main points in slightly different (...) ways and contexts in the hope that some of them might prove cogent, so this reply does the same. The dialogue-like result seems to engage more directly and completely than producing a new stand-alone exposition. And some new arguments are even developed in the process. But the full nature of many of the criticisms and replies often only becomes clear as the “dialogue” proceeds. An addendum then rebuts two further brief critical responses in the same manner. (shrink)
Die Diversität von Nahrungspflanzen, ein Ergebnis Jahrtausende langer Zuchtbemühungen, ist in den letzten Jahrzehnten dramatisch zurückgegangen. Schätzungen zufolge machen von den über 7000 Nahrungspflanzenarten ganze 103 Sorten 90% der Nahrungsmittelproduktion aus. Dieser Verlust könnte in Zukunft gewaltige negative Auswirkungen auf die Nahrungsmittelsicherheit haben, da die Biodiversität eine zentrale Rolle bei der Absorbierung biotischer und abiotischer Stressfaktoren spielt, die auf die Pflanzen wirken. Darüber hinaus stellt der Verlust eine bedeutende Verarmung nicht nur des Pools genetischer Ressourcen dar, die zukünftigen Generationen zur (...) Verfügung stehen, sondern auch der kulturellen Diversität, indem die Nahrungsmittelvielfalt der Landesküchen eingeschränkt und sowohl Kulturlandschaften als auch Stadtgärten vereinheitlicht werden. Wegen der grundlegenden Funktion, die die Agrobiodiversität in der menschlichen Gesellschaft erfüllt, werden wir im Folgenden verschiedene Schwierigkeiten bei der Pflege der Agrobiodiversität als ein gemeinsames Erbe der Menschheit in einer stark ungleichen Welt erörtern. Zuvor jedoch möchten wir untersuchen, was Agrobiodiversität eigentlich ist und welche Funktion sie für das menschliche Wohlbefinden erfüllt. Ziel dieses Artikels ist zu zeigen, inwieweit sich verschiedene Anreizsysteme unterschiedlich auf den Erhalt von Agrobiodiversität auswirken. (shrink)
Having an adequate and extensively recognized resource governance system is essential for the conservation and sustainable use of crop genetic resources in a highly populated planet. Despite the widely accepted importance of agrobiodiversity for future plant breeding and thus food security, there is still pervasive disagreement at the individual level on who should own genetic resources. The aim of the article is to provide conceptual clarification on the following concepts and their relation to agrobiodiversity stewardship: open access, commons, private property, (...) state property and common heritage of humankind. After presenting each property regime, we will examine whether and how these incentivize the conservation, improvement and sharing of crop genetic resources, and conclude by defending a mixed property regime. (shrink)
Does intellectual property satisfy the requirements of the Lockean proviso, that the appropriator leave “enough and as good” or that he at least not “deprive others”? If an author's appropriation of a work he has just created is analogous to a drinker “taking a good draught” in the flow of an inexhaustible river, or to someone magically “causing springs of water to flow in the desert,” how could it not satisfy the Lockean proviso?
DNA possesses a double nature: it is both an analog chemical compound and a digital carrier of information. By distinguishing these two aspects, this paper aims to reevaluate the legally and politically influential idea that the human genome forms part of the common heritage of mankind, an idea which is thought to conflict with the practice of patenting DNA. The paper explores the lines of reasoning that lead to the common heritage idea, articulates and motivates what emerges as the most (...) viable version of it, and assesses the extent to which this version conflicts with gene-patenting practices as exemplified by the U.S. regime. It concludes that the genome is best thought of as a repository of information to which humanity has a fiduciary relationship, and that on this view, the perceived conflict with gene-patenting largely dissolves. (shrink)
In order to enlarge the pool of knowledge available in the public domain, temporary exclusive rights are granted to innovators who are willing to fully disclose the information needed to reproduce their invention. After the 20-year patent protection period elapses, society should be able to make free use of the publicly available knowledge described in the patent document, which is deemed useful. Resistance to pesticides destroys however the usefulness of information listed in patent documents over time. The invention, here pesticides, (...) will have a decreased effectiveness once it enters the public domain. In some cases pesticides lose most of their efficacy shortly after temporary exclusive rights expire. Society’s share of the patent bargain—having new useful knowledge available in the public domain—is lost. Resistance can be slowed down, if pesticide use is limited by optimal compliance. Stimulating proper use is generally not compatible with existing market incentives for patent holders, since these have to be able to maximize profits in order to recoup research and development costs and satisfy obligations to the company’s stakeholders. Another incentive system is needed to ensure longevity of pesticides, which at the same time does not hamper future research. (shrink)
It is often argued that the fact that intellectual objects—objects like ideas, inventions, concepts, and melodies—can be used by several people simultaneously makes intellectual property rights impossible or particularly difficult to morally justify. In this article, I assess the line of criticism of intellectual ownership in connection with a central category of intellectual property rights, economic rights to intellectual property. I maintain that it is unconvincing.
Intellectual property has become the apple of discord in today’s moral and political debates. Although it has been approached from many different perspectives, a final conclusion has not been reached. In this paper I will offer a new way of thinking about intellectual property rights (IPRs), from a left-libertarian perspective. My thesis is that IPRs are not (natural) original rights, aprioric rights, as it is usually argued. They are derived rights hence any claim for intellectual property is weaker than the (...) correlative duties attached to self-ownership and world-ownership rights, which are of crucial importance in any left-libertarian view. Moreover, IPRs lack priority in front of these two original rights and should be overridden by stronger claims of justice. Thus, as derived rights, IPRs should not benefit of strong enforcement like any original rights especially if it could be in the latters’ detriment. (shrink)
The purpose of this analysis is to widen and clarify the debate which arose during the last years around granting patents (and other ownership rights) upon different methods and mechanisms of manipulating and engineering life. In doing so, I draw a limited, prima facie argument against many sorts of entitlements or granting rights to those capable of manipulating life at its core level. The general tendency nowadays is to put pressure on the institutional setting in order to accept and promote (...) the manipulation of life as a novel discovery and invention, i.e. to grant patents. I will argue why this is not only socially risky, but also morally doubtful. (shrink)
Defenders of intellectual property rights argue that these rights are justified because creators and inventors deserve compensation for their labour, because their ideas and expressions are their personal property and because the total amount of creative work and innovation increases when inventors and creators have a prospect of generating high income through the exploitation of their monopoly rights. This view is not only widely accepted by the general public, but also enforced through a very effective international legal framework. And it (...) is endorsed by most academic researchers and commentators in this field. In this essay, I will show that the classical arguments for the justification of private intellectual property rights can be contested, and that there are many good reasons to abolish intellectual property rights completely in favour of an intellectual commons where every person is allowed to use every cultural expression and invention in whatever way he wishes. I will first give a short overview of the classical arguments for the justification of intellectual property as they are usually stated. We will then discuss the question of whether the creator or inventor deserves his de jure monopoly, by using John Christman’s categories of income and control rights to analyse property rights. The aim here is to show that it does not make sense to create control rights for abstract objects, as they are not scarce, and that there is no logical connection between the surplus which may be generated through income rights and the labour which has been put into a cultural artefact or an invention, and therefore it is not justified to grant monopoly rights on the basis of Lockean natural rights arguments for self-ownership and the just appropriation of worldly resources. As it is possible to reject Christman’s property rights categories, I will then go on to show on the basis of Richard Dawkins’ postulation of the ‘meme’ and Ludwik Fleck’s theory of the ‘thought collective’ that creative processes should be interpreted as interpersonal or collective processes, and therefore it is not justified to grant intellectual property rights to individuals on the basis of the idea that the individual who has put labour into the creative work or the invention should be the one to whom the contents of the work belong exclusively. As it is still possible to postulate the utilitarian argument that intellectual property rights are just because they increase the amount of creative works and inventions, I will argue in the last chapter that, from a libertarian as well as from an egalitarian point of view, the justification of intellectual monopoly rights on utilitarian grounds cannot be maintained. Therefore it is time to abolish the current global intellectual property law regime in favour of an intellectual commons for the good of all human beings and societies. (shrink)
Interest has been revived in the creation of a "bill of rights" for Internet users. This paper analyzes users' rights into ten broad principles, as a basis for assessing what users regard as important and for comparing different multi-issue Internet policy proposals. Stability of the principles is demonstrated in an experimental survey, which also shows that freedoms of users to participate in the design and coding of platforms appear to be viewed as inessential relative to other rights. An analysis of (...) users' rights frameworks that have emerged over the past twenty years similarly shows that such proposals tend to leave out freedoms related to software platforms, as opposed to user data or public networks. Evaluating policy frameworks in a comparative analysis based on prior principles may help people to see what is missing and what is important as the future of the Internet continues to be debated. (shrink)
Volumul îşi propune să aducă în discuţie un domeniu de probleme de actualitate aflat în discuţie publică. Studiile abordează aspecte cu încărcătură teoretică diferită, dar toate converg tematic spre aceeaşi problemă generală a relaţiei dintre etica cercetării şi competiţia pentru recunoaşterea meritelor prin asigurarea şi reglementarea dreptului la proprietate intelectuală.
Taking people’s longevity as a measure of good life, humankind can proudly say that the average person is living a much longer life than ever before. The AIDS epidemic has however for the first time in decades stalled and in some cases even reverted this trend in a number of countries. Climate change is increasingly becoming a major challenge for food security and we can anticipate that hunger caused by crop damages will become much more common. -/- Since many of (...) the challenges humanity faced in the past were overcome by inventive solutions coming from the life sciences, we are compelled to reconsider how we incentivize science and technology development so that those in need can benefit more broadly from scientific research. There is a huge portion of the world population that is in urgent need for medicines to combat diseases that are currently neglected by the scientific community and could immensely benefit from agricultural research that specifically targets their environmental conditions. At the same time efforts have to be made to make the fruits of current and future research more widely accessible. These changes would have to be backed by a range of moral arguments to attract people with diverging notions of global justice. This article explores the main ethical theories used to demand a greater share in the benefits from scientific progress for the poor. Since life sciences bring about a number of special concerns, a short list of conflictive issues is also offered. (shrink)
A wide range of proposals to alleviate the negative effects of intellectual property regimes is currently under discussion. This article offers a critical evaluation of six of these proposals: the Health Impact Fund, the Access to Knowledge movement, prize systems, open innovation models, compulsory licenses and South-South collaborations. An assessment on how these proposals target the human rights affected by intellectual property will be provided. The conflicting human rights that will be individually discussed are the rights: to benefit from one’s (...) own scientific work, to benefit from the advancement of science, to participate in scientific enterprises and to self-determination. (shrink)
The purpose of the following study is that of providing a critical anal‑ ysis of Intellectual Property (IP), with a closer look on copyright, in the context of human rights. My main conjecture is the following : the legal infrastructure stemming from the implications of copyrights which states created has nega‑ tive consequences if we have a closer look at some human rights specified by The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). For example, copyrights are, in my view, incompatible with (...) the human rights which specify that (1) hu‑ man beings have a right to freely take part in the cultural and scientific life of the communities which they inhabit and (2) human beings have a right to own property. My main hypothesis is the following : if copyrights are, in fact, more difficult to ground from a moral perspective, then this considerations must trump the provision of the 27th article of the UDHR, which states that creators, be they artists or researchers, have a human right to have their moral and mate‑ rial interests protected with regard to their intellectual products, if this amounts to a justification for a copyright. (shrink)
The moral acceptability of intellectual property rights is often assessed by comparing them to central instances of rights to material property. Critics of intellectual ownership claim to have found significant differences. One of the dissimilarities pertains to the extent of the control intellectual property rights bestow on their holders over the material property of others. The main idea of the criticism of intellectual ownership built around that dissimilarity is that, in light of the comparison with material property rights, the power (...) is excessive. In this article, I assess this objection to intellectual property rights in connection with patents and copyrights. I maintain that it is implausible. (shrink)
The expiration of intellectual property rights has been seen to amount to a problem for non-consequentialist theories of intellectual property. In this article, I assess whether the difficulty is real. I maintain that, as things are at least, there is no sufficient reason to believe that the termination of intellectual property rights is an insurmountable problem for non-consequentialist theories of intellectual property rights.
El presente artículo tiene como objetivo destacar la problemática de las prácticas de extensión o prolongación de los derechos de exclusividad sobre los medicamentos, llevadas a cabo por la industria farmacéutica, una vez el término de protección vía patente está por finalizar. A través de tres escenarios se pone de manifiesto las implicaciones de este fenómeno, destacándose la necesidad de involucrar activamente al Estado para garantizar así unas condiciones equitativas de acceso a los medicamentos.
An idea is a public good. The use of an idea by one person does not hinder others to benefit from the same idea. However in order to generate new life-saving ideas, e.g. inventions in the life sciences, a huge amount of human and material resources are needed. Powerful, but highly criticized tools to speed up the rate of innovation are exclusive rights, most prominently the use of patents and plant breeders’ rights. Exclusive rights leave by nature a number of (...) people empty-handed, with starvation, stuntedness, prevalence of disease and death as preventable and quotidian consequences. To stimulate a human rights compatible use of exclusive rights a wide range of moral frameworks have been developed to condemn current praxes. Most prominent in the debate are theories building on (1) utilitarian calculations of weighing benefits with Peter Singer as a prominent advocate, (2) Pogge’s vindication of compensatory duties for institutional harms, (3) a comprehensive analysis on how the current innovation incentive system fails to secure human rights and human capabilities and lastly (4) showing how the status quo nurtures misrecognition. With help of those theories modest targets as well as a thorough restructure of the innovation incentive system can be justified. Those theories have the mammoth task of restraining well-established ideas supporting the permissibility of a reckless use of property rights that are deeply anchored in the property law discourse. Life sciences raise a range of special problems when justifying pro-poor innovation. Healthy people living in a society with a good sanitary infrastructure need far less resources to tackle health problems than people in places with a poor infrastructure. Patents that involve gene sequences (or part thereof) make inventing around impossible, making the seeking of licenses mandatory for investigators wanting to make follow-up research with the molecule. Speedy sharing of data concerning public health hazards or threats to food security are vital to maintain living standards. (shrink)
The rapid recent expansion of copyright law worldwide has sparked efforts to defend the ‘public domain’ of non-propertized information, often on the ground that an expansive public domain is a condition of a ‘free culture’. Yet questions remain about why the public domain is worth defending, what exactly a free culture is, and what role (if any) authors’ rights might play in relation to it. From the standard liberal perspective shared by many critics of copyright expansionism, the protection of individual (...) expression by means of marketable property rights in authors’ works serves as an engine of progress towards a fully competitive ‘marketplace of ideas’ – though only if balanced by an extensive public domain from which users may draw in the exercise of their own expressivity. This article shows that a significantly different, and arguably richer, conception of what a free culture is and how authors’ rights underpin it emerges from a direct engagement with the philosophy of Immanuel Kant. For Kant, progress towards a fully emancipated (i.e. a ‘mature’ or ‘enlightened’) culture can only be achieved through the critical intellectual activity that public communication demands: individual expressive freedom is only a condition, not constitutive, of this ‘freedom to make public use of one’s reason in all matters’. The main thesis defended in this article is that when Kant’s writings on publicity (critical public debate) are read in relation to his writings on the legal organization of publishing, a necessary connection emerges between authors’ rights – as distinct from copyrights – and what Jürgen Habermas and others have named the public sphere. I conclude that it is the public sphere, and not the public domain as such, that should serve as the key reference point in any evaluation of copyright law’s role in relation to the possibility of a free culture. (shrink)
With the passage and implementation of the “first-to-file” provisions of the America Invents Act of 2011, the U.S. patent system must rely more than ever before on patent documents for its own ontological commitments concerning the existence of claimed kinds of useful objects and processes. This Article provides a comprehensive description of the previously unrecognized function of the patent document in incurring and securing warrants to these ontological commitments, and the respective roles of legal doctrines and practices in the patent (...) system’s ontological project. Among other contributions, the resulting metaphysical account serves to reconcile competing interpretations of the written description requirement that have emerged from the Federal Circuit’s recent jurisprudence, and to explain why the patent system is willing and able to examine, grant and enforce claims reciting theoretical entities. While this Article is entirely descriptive, it concludes by identifying promising normative and prescriptive implications of this work, including the formulation of an appropriate test for the patent-eligibility of software-implemented inventions in the post-Bilski era. (shrink)
The new frontiers in the philosophy of intellectual property lie squarely in territories belonging to moral and political philosophy, as well as legal philosophy and philosophy of economics – or so this collection suggests. Those who wish to understand the nature and justification of intellectual property may now find themselves immersed in philosophical debates on the structure and relative merits of consequentialist and deontological moral theories, or disputes about the nature and value of privacy, or the relationship between national and (...) global justice. Conversely, the theoretical and practical problems posed by intellectual property are increasingly relevant to bioethics and philosophy and public policy, as well as to more established areas of moral and political philosophy. Perhaps this is just to say that the philosophy of intellectual property is coming into its own as a distinct field of intellectual endeavour, providing a place where legal theorists and philosophers can have the sorts of discussions - neither reducible to questions about what the law is, nor wholly divorced from contemporary legal problems - which typify debates about freedom of expression, discrimination and human rights. These are all areas in which legal and philosophical ideas influence each other at the level of method as well as of substance. My hope is that this collection of essays will appeal to those who, whatever their professional specialty or training, share an interest in the philosophy of intellectual property, and that it will build upon and advance existing interdisciplinary dialogue and research in this complex, fascinating, and important area. Authors include John Christman, Stephen Munzer, Alex Rosenberg, Geert Demunijck, Laura Biron, James Wilson . (shrink)
The current situation of climate change at a global level clearly requires policy changes at local levels. Global efforts to reach a consensus regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions have so far been focused on developing Climate-Friendly Technologies (CFTs). The problem is that in order for these efforts to have an actual impact at a global level we need to be concerned with more than just promotion and info-dissemination on the already existing CFTs, but also with costs, implementation and (...) the international intellectual property and trade system necessary for this strategy to work. Currently, almost 80% of all patent applications belong to OECD countries like Japan, US, Germany, South Korea, Great Britain and France. The obligations climate change imposes on developing countries represent a technological shift that depends on Technology Transfer (TT) and implementation of IP laws. The current IP framework, especially patent law, copyright and trade secrets produces another kind of obligations. The main question is if the conjunction of these two sets of obligations (rules) is fair from a global justice point of view. Also, it is questionable whether this conjunction helps developing countries to produce their own CFTs. When discussing the demands of global justice one cannot skip the very important distinction Pogge makes between negative and positive obligations. In the context of global warming and the measures that the world’s states ought to take to prevent it, there seems to lie another conjunction between the positive obligation of preserving the natural environment that we all share and a negative obligation of allowing the less developed countries to help us all do so. Because one cannot impose regulations that cannot be put into practice, it is more and more obvious that a new framework of action and development needs to be drawn in the field of TT of CFTs. (shrink)
International negotiations on anthropogenic climate change are far from running smoothly. Opinions are deeply divided on what are the respective responsibilities of developed and developing countries with regard to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the alleviation of the negative effects of global warming. A major bone of contention concerns the role of intellectual property rights (especially patents) in the development and diffusion of climate-friendly technologies. While developing countries consider IPRs as a formidable barrier to the rapid transfer and (...) the widest possible diffusion of such technologies, developed countries, by contrast, see IPRs as a vital prerequisite for the development and transfer of these same technologies. This debate shows some similarity with the earlier debate on patents and access to lifesaving medicines, although there are also important differences. In our contribution we will explore both the analogies and the differences with this earlier debate. To provide a focus for our discussion, we will examine whether something similar to the Health Impact Fund (HIF), which has been proposed by philosopher Thomas Pogge as a reasonable solution to the ethical dilemmas of protection and accessibility in the field of pharmaceuticals, can also be elaborated for the development and diffusion of climate-friendly technologies. Thus the central question is how an analogous ‘Climate Impact Fund’ would look like and how it would work. This whole exercise will also yield a normative yardstick for assessing the various designs for a Green Climate Fund or a Technology Mechanism that are currently on the table of the international climate negotiations. (shrink)
The purpose of this paper is to assess the emergence of the pirate movements in the European Union. Our goal is to sketch the steps towards a research agenda for this grassroots political movement which gained momentum since 2009. To attain our goal we showed the re-signification of the concept of piracy in the debate around intellectual property and its institutional settlement. Afterwards we analysed the big political themes of several European Pirate Parties and their struggle to follow the preferences (...) of the median voter. We concluded with a set of hypotheses of which the most important is that the pirates will inscribe neither to the left nor to the right part of the political spectrum. (shrink)
Like the ownership of physical property, the issues computer software ownership raises can be understood as concerns over how various rights and duties over software are shared between owners and users. The powers of software owners are defined in software licenses, the legal agreements defining what users can and cannot do with a particular program. To help clarify how these licenses permit and restrict users’ actions, here I present a conceptual framework of software rights and duties that is inspired by (...) the terms of various proprietary, open source, and free software licenses. To clarify the relationships defined by these rights and duties, this framework distinguishes between software creators (the original developer), custodians (those who can control its use), and users (those who utilise the software). I define the various rights and duties that can be shared between these parties and how these rights and duties relate to each other. I conclude with a brief example of how this framework can be used by defining the concepts of free software and copyleft in terms of rights and duties. (shrink)
Public goods, as well as commercial commodities, are affected by exclusive arrangements secured by intellectual property (IP) rights. These rights serve as an incentive to invest human and material capital in research and development. Particularly in the life sciences, IP rights regulate objects such as food and medicines that are key to securing human rights, especially the right to adequate food and the right to health. Consequently, IP serves private (economic) and public interests. Part of this charge claims that the (...) current IP regime is privatizing the very building blocks of research and development – that used to be part of the commons. The public domain, in contrast to the private domain, may be the locus of much more diverse forms of creativity that at the same time ensures a wider plurality of productive traditions. An IP regime must support a sense of public morality because it is dependent upon civil support. This inevitably prompts questions of what are “good” exclusive rights and what are “bad” exclusive rights, and how shall such IP rights be developed. We argue that the democratization of the current IP regimes is an important first step to respond to these issues. (shrink)
Intellectual property law tends to be viewed as the only (or most significant) mechanism for achieving policy goals relating to innovation assets. Yet more creative and effective solutions are often available. When analysed from a transdisciplinary perspective, relying on the cooperative efforts of researchers from fields other than law, innovation governance is characterized not simply as the product of legal rules, but as a function of the interaction of legal rules, practices and institutions. When policy-makers seek to identify conditions under (...) which the creation, use and exchange of innovation assets flourishes, care should be taken to focus on this combination of factors. This article describes the development of an ontology—a computerized method of representing knowledge as concepts and relations between concepts—to convey such understanding. Policy makers (and researchers) are provided with an organized, accessible representation of innovation governance that enriches their understanding and improves their decision-making. (shrink)
This paper explores the possibility of extending Locke’s theory with respect to tangible property so that it might offer a feasible theoretical basis for intellectual property too. The main conclusion is that such an attempt must fail. Locke’s theory comes in three parts: a general justification of property which serves to explain why assets ought to be under the exclusive control of individuals; a positive method of private appropriation whereby an individual acquires a prima facie exclusive claim to previously commonly (...) held natural resources; and third, a negative requirement that other individuals’ crucial interests are not harmed by such an appropriation. For each of these, the difficulties involved in applying that part of the theory to the sphere of ideas are discussed, and a central aspect of intellectual property that raises the problems of application is highlighted. (shrink)
This paper argues that private property and rights assignment, especially as applied to communication infrastructure and information, should be informed by advances in both technology and our understanding of psychology. Current law in this area in the United States and many other jurisdictions is founded on assumptions about human behavior that have been shown not to hold empirically. A joint recognition of this fact, together with an understanding of what new technologies make possible, leads one to question basic assumptions about (...) how law is made and what laws we should have in a given area, if any. I begin by analyzing different aspects of U.S. law, from a high-level critique of law making to a critique of rights assignment for what I call 'simple nonrival goods.' I describe my understanding, as a non-lawyer with a background in psychology and computing, of the current conventions in U.S. law, consider the foundational assumptions that justify current conventions, describe advances in psychology and technology that call these conventions into question, and briefly note how the law might normatively change in this light. I then apply this general analysis to the question of domain name assignment by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). (shrink)