Toward a Lockean Theory of Intellectual Property
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY: MORAL, LEGAL, AND INTERNATIONAL DILEMMAS, p. 81, A. Moore, ed., Rowman & Littlefield, 1997
23 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2012 Last revised: 9 Mar 2018
Date Written: 1997
In what follows, a Lockean theory of intellectual property rights will be explained and defended. In part, I will argue that the non-rivalrous nature of intellectual property, mentioned above, does not pose an insurmountable problem for the Lockean. The first part will consist of a protracted argument, grounded in the Lockean proviso, that seeks to justify individual acts of intellectual property appropriation. In the second part, I will examine how an institution or system of intellectual property might be justified, rather than justifying individual instances of intellectual property acquisition directly. Finally, if successful, my theory will support the original intuition that something ethically wrong has occurred when computer software, music, or other intellectual works are pirated.
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