On Securing Rights to Access Information

Journal of Information Ethics 23 (1):42-54 (2014)

Some might argue that a right to access information is problematic, as it requires too much from others. Being a "positive right," the possession of which foists upon others a duty to provide something, an RAI might be thought to contrast with a "negative right," such as the right not to be harmed. Here, other people have duties only to refrain from performing certain actions. The critics this paper is concerned with continue that positive rights are problematic, where negative rights are not, since the former obligate people to do something, which is more taxing than obligating people not to do something. So according to a critic of RAIs, such rights are difficult, if not impossible, to justify.This paper takes no position on whether an RAI is positive or negative. It also does not argue whether positive rights can be justified or not. Instead, it argues that, if an RAI is positive, then so are intellectual property rights . This is significant, as critics of RAIs may hold to IPRs. . This paper argues against that one cannot reject an RAI on the basis of its being a positive right without also losing their justification for IPRs. If this is correct, then, proponents of intellectual property who reject an RAI must find independent justification for the former, which itself will not extend to the latter.This is good news for the defender of RAIs, since the sting is removed from one potential criticism thereof. If people have an RAI, this is not anymore burdensome than other rights currently in effect
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Lockean Justifications of Intellectual Property.Daniel Attas - 2008 - In Gosseries Axel, Marciano A. & Strowel A. (eds.), Intellectual Property and Theories of Justice. Basingstoke & N.Y.: Palgrave Mcmillan. pp. 29--56.

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