A Property Rights Theory of the Limits of Copyright

University of Toronto Law Journal, Vol. 51, No. 1, pp. 1-61, 2001

67 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2011

See all articles by Norman Siebrasse

Norman Siebrasse

University of New Brunswick - Fredericton - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 7, 2001

Abstract

The standard view is that copyright law should seek to strike the correct balance between providing incentives to create works and encouraging their dissemination. This article argues that this goal does not, and cannot, explain most aspects of copyright doctrine, because the information necessary to strike this balance correctly is not available to the courts. This article argues that rather than attempting an optimal allocation of rights, the main task of copyright law should be to ensure that property rights are clearly defined. This theory is then applied to explain the idea / expression dichotomy in copyright law; the different roles of copyright and patent law; and to the question of copyright in facts.

Suggested Citation

Siebrasse, Norman, A Property Rights Theory of the Limits of Copyright (July 7, 2001). University of Toronto Law Journal, Vol. 51, No. 1, pp. 1-61, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1865875

Norman Siebrasse (Contact Author)

University of New Brunswick - Fredericton - Faculty of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 4400
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5A3
Canada
506-453-4725 (Phone)
506-453-4548 (Fax)

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