Labor as the Basis for Intellectual Property Rights

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4):681-695 (2014)

Bryan Cwik
Portland State University
In debates about the moral foundations of intellectual property, one very popular strand concerns the role of labor as a moral basis for intellectual property rights. This idea has a great deal of intuitive plausibility; but is there a way to make it philosophically precise? That is, does labor provide strong reasons to grant intellectual property rights to intellectual laborers? In this paper, I argue that the answer to that question is “yes”. I offer a new view, different from existing labor theories of intellectual property, which I call the productive capacities view. This view gives us a way to make sense of the idea of labor as the basis for intellectual property rights, as well as a tool for critically evaluating existing intellectual property institutions
Keywords Property  Intellectual property  Patent  Copyright  Labor
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-013-9471-y
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References found in this work BETA

Anarchy, State, and Utopia.Robert Nozick - 1977 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):187-201.
Intellectual Property.Seana Valentine Shiffrin - 2007 - In Robert Goodin, Philip Pettit & Thomas Pogge (eds.), A Companion to Contemporary Political Philosophy. Blackwell.
Justifying Intellectual Property.Edwin C. Hettinger - 1989 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 18 (1):31-52.

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Liberalism and Intellectual Property Rights.Hugh Breakey - 2009 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 8 (3):329-349.
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