Literary Landlords in Plaguetime

19 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2020 Last revised: 29 Mar 2021

See all articles by Brian L. Frye

Brian L. Frye

University of Kentucky - College of Law

Date Written: September 28, 2020


Copyright scholars disagree about whether we should conceptualize copyright as a form of property. This essay accepts the property metaphor and asks what it entails. It observes that if copyright is property, then copyright owners are landlords. It reflects on why copyright owners love the property metaphor, but hate the landlord metaphor. And it asks how conceptualizing copyright owners as landlords might affect our assessment of their moral claims.

Keywords: copyright, property, landlord, intellectual property

Suggested Citation

Frye, Brian L., Literary Landlords in Plaguetime (September 28, 2020). NYU Journal of Intellectual Property & Entertainment Law, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Brian L. Frye (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky - College of Law ( email )

620 S. Limestone Street
Lexington, KY 40506-0048
United States


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