Intellectual Property and Social Justice
F. Columbus (ed.), Handbook of Social Justice, New York: Nova Publishers 2009
Institute for Information Law Research Paper No. 2012-43
19 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2013
Date Written: April 2, 2012
The main goal of this chapter is to explore the relation between intellectual property and social justice. Particularly, the aim is assessing the impact of the former on the shaping of the latter. Hence, and after summarising a possible approach to social justice, the special characteristics of intellectual property goods as semi-public goods will be recalled. In this realm, we will explore the paradox of such goods being naturally non- rival and non-excludable, while its protection enables the right holder to effectively prevent third parties from using them within a certain time frame. We then follow to analyse the rationale of intellectual property. Here, we will start by alluding to the incentive to create and the promotion of innovation as commonly referred reasons for the very existence of intellectual property. However, we will call upon justice considerations as well, showing that intellectual property has in its core social justice concerns and that its roots go far beyond any economic construction. We will finally refer to limitations to intellectual property rights and outline some conclusions about the possible relation between social justice, economic efficiency and intellectual property.
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