Human Rights and Copyright: The Introduction of Natural Law Considerations into American Copyright Law
Orit Fischman Afori
College of Management Academic Studies Law School
Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 14, No. 2, 2004
The aim of this article is to shed light on a completely neglected subject, which is the relationship between the American copyright scheme and the status of the moral and economic interests of authors as possible universal human rights. Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of 1948, proclaims two fundamental rights known as cultural rights: the general right to participate in cultural life; and the material and moral rights of authors with respect to their works. Cultural rights, like human rights in general, are based mainly on natural law philosophy, enhancing the individual rights that every person deserves wherever they are. This article explores these two cultural rights, their inter-relations and possible contradictions, and examines their status as universal human rights. Furthermore, I argue that natural law considerations, which underlie Article 27, can and should be introduced into American copyright law in order to develop copyright law in a more balanced way. Such proposal is reconciled with the interpretation of the United States Constitutional command to legislate copyright law in order to promote cultural progress as determining a utilitarian objective for copyright law. Thus, the importance of this article lies in the proposition of a mechanism to insert the agenda of Article 27 of the Universal Declaration into domestic American copyright law, in a way which is within the Constitutional framework.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 69
Keywords: Intellectual Property, Copyright, Human Rights, Cultural Rights, Copyright Constitutional Clause, Natural Law in Copyright Law, Right to Participate In Cultural Life
Date posted: February 1, 2008