Natural Intellectual Property Rights and the Public Domain

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Title Natural Intellectual Property Rights and the Public Domain
Author Breakey, Hugh Edmond
Journal Name The Modern Law Review
Year Published 2010
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Abstract No natural rights theory justi¢es strong intellectual property rights.More speci¢cally, 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 di¡erences, all these natural rights theories endorse some set ofmembers 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.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
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Copyright Statement Copyright 2010 The Modern Law Review Limited. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. This is the author-manuscript version of this paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. The definitive version is available at
Volume 73
Issue Number 2
Page from 208
Page to 239
ISSN 0026-7961
Date Accessioned 2011-04-21
Language en_AU
Research Centre Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance
Faculty Arts, Education and Law
Subject Intellectual Property Law
Publication Type Journal Articles (Refereed Article)
Publication Type Code c1x

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