Title

A Property Right in Self-Expression: Equality and Individualism in the Natural Law of Intellectual Property

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1993

ISSN

0044-0094

Publisher

Yale Law School

Language

en-US

Abstract

This Article argues that a properly conceived natural-rights theory of intellectual property would provide significant protection for free speech interests. This is more than just an academic exercise. Judges have failed to use the First Amendment to provide extensive protection for free expression in intellectual property cases, in part because they mistakenly find a warrant for strong "authors' rights" in a philosophy of natural law. Natural rights theory, however, is necessarily concerned with the rights of the public as well as with those whose labors create intellectual products. When the limitations in natural law's premises are taken seriously, natural rights not only cease to be a weapon against free expression; they also become a source o affirmative protection for free speech interests.

Comments

Republished in translation by X. Shanshan & Wangsui, under the direction of Professor Li Yang, Private Law (2008). [Chinese]

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