Worldmaking: Property rights in aesthetic creations

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 45 (2):183-192 (1986)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper delves into the nature of intellectual property rights in aesthetic creations, particularly works of visual art and literary works. The discussion focuses on copyrights interests, but there are also implications for trademark and patent rights. The argument assumes a fairly conventional definition of "property," namely, the set of legal relations between the owner and all other persons relating to the use, enjoyment and disposition of a tangible thing. The problem with such a definition as applied to aesthetic creations is that no ordinary tangible thing necessarily embodies a creation which can exist in multiple copies, so the paper takes the transcendent view that the tangible thing subject to legal relations is the entire terra firma or material universe being shaped in the image, sounds or words of the aesthetic creation. Therefore, the paradigm suggested for intellectual property is a monopoly on shaping the entire physical universe, thus the Worldmaking concept. It then follows that intellectual property in an aesthetic creation enables the owner to stop plagiarists from using any part of the material world to recreate in the audience the imaginative experiences first created by the protected work.

Similar books and articles

Intrinsic limitations of property rights.J. M. Elegido - 1995 - Journal of Business Ethics 14 (5):411 - 416.
The concept of an aesthetic property.Rafael DeClercq - 2002 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 60 (2):167–176.
Corporate property rights.Larry May - 1986 - Journal of Business Ethics 5 (3):225 - 232.
Property rights and preservationist duties.Robert E. Goodin - 1990 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 33 (4):401 – 432.
Self-ownership.Peter Vallentyne - 2001 - In Laurence Becker & Charlotte Becker (eds.), Encyclopedia of Ethics, 2nd edition. Garland Publishing.
Worldmaking Made Hard.Michael Devitt - 2006 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 6 (1):3-25.


Added to PP

584 (#28,685)

6 months
136 (#22,834)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Citations of this work

Different types—different rights.Barbro Björkman - 2007 - Science and Engineering Ethics 13 (2):221-233.

Add more citations

References found in this work

Aesthetic blindness to textual visuality.Richard Shusterman - 1982 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 41 (1):87-96.
Time in the visual arts: Lessing and modern criticism.Jeoraldean McClain - 1985 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 44 (1):41-58.
Craft and art: A phenomenological distinction.C. B. Fethe - 1977 - British Journal of Aesthetics 17 (2):129-137.

Add more references