Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Debate on IP as a Natural Right

Over at Agoraphilia, they've been having a discussion about IP as a natural right.

Most of the debate is centered around copyrights and patents. Both sides understand that neither patent nor copyright law arose from common law, and seem to agree that in a state of nature (pre-government) it is hard to imagine either one existing. Murky Thoughts chimes with some interesting ideas on how prestige is a necessary commodity for these systems to work, and that in our modern economy, prestige has an important relation to that other commodity of all commodities: money.

What would I hope to add to the discussion? I'd hope to make the point that invention itself is a natural right. They are right -- IP is an artificial structure formed by statutory law -- but forget about IP for the moment. It is the ability to create which forms a natural right. When viewed in this light, the question becomes, "does our IP regime impede on our natural right to create?" And if so, what do we do to fix it?


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