A Critique of Ayn Rand's Theory of Intellectual Property Rights

Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 139-161, Fall 2007

23 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2008  

Timothy Sandefur

Goldwater Institute

Abstract

Ayn Rand viewed copyrights and patents as natural rights that were secured by legislation, rather than as monopoly privileges that were created by the state. Other Objectivist writers have followed suit. This article disputes this thesis on the grounds that it fails to recognize the distinction between the right to use and the right to exclude, the latter of which cannot be justified with regard to intellectual property on Objectivist premises. In addition, the article discusses three significant objections to the natural-rights interpretation of copyright that Objectivist authors have failed so far adequately to address.

Keywords: Ayn Rand, Objectivism, copyright, natural right copyright, patent, labor theory natural copyright, Adam Mossoff, Eric Daniels

Suggested Citation

Sandefur, Timothy, A Critique of Ayn Rand's Theory of Intellectual Property Rights. Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp. 139-161, Fall 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1117269

Timothy Sandefur (Contact Author)

Goldwater Institute ( email )

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