Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Breakey on Natural Intellectual Property Rights and the Public Domain

Hugh E. Breakey, Griffith University, has published Natural Intellectual Property Rights and the Public Domain at 73 Modern Law Review 208 (2010). Here is the abstract.

No natural rights theory justifies strong intellectual property rights. More specifically, no theory within the entire domain of natural rights thinking – encompassing classical liberalism, libertarianism and left-libertarianism, in all their innumerable variants – coherently supports strengthening current intellectual property rights. Despite their many important differences, all these natural rights theories endorse some set of members of a common family of basic ethical precepts. These commitments include non-interference, fairness, non-worsening, consistency, universalisability, prior consent, self-ownership, self-governance, and the establishment of zones of autonomy. Such commitments have clear applications pertaining to the use and ownership of created ideas. I argue that each of these commitments require intellectual property rights to be substantially limited in scope, strength and duration. In this way the core mechanisms of natural rights thinking ensure a robust public domain and categorically rule out strong intellectual property rights.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

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