Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law, and the Common Good


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Free and prosperous societies respect property rights. But do copyrights really qualify for the same respect afforded to houses, cars, and computers? Recent legislative trends suggest that lawmakers have been misled by the rhetoric of property to make copyright more and more powerful. This trend has thrown public policy out of balance, discouraged innovation, and harmed consumers. Rather than a form of property, lawmakers should regard copyrights as government-granted privileges that threaten our natural and common law rights and that, when taken too far, make worthy targets for reform.

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Intellectual Privilege: Copyright, Common Law, and the Common Good

  1. 1. Left Questions copyright restrictions But flexible view of property Right Pro Property Rights But thinks copyright equals property
  2. 2. Free Market View: Pro Property Rights and Questions Copyright Restrictions Left Right
  3. 3. 1308 79602 0 10000 20000 30000 40000 50000 60000 70000 80000 90000 1790 Act Present Act Words in U.S. Copyright Statute
  4. 4. Founders’© v. Present © Max Term: 28 years v. author’s life + 70 years Infringing: copying the whole v. any copying, preparation of derivative works, public display, public performance, or public distribution Subjects: maps, books, or charts v. graphic or literary works, songs, plays, movies, dances, sculptures, sound recordings, architectural works, computer programs, etc. Remedies: statutory damages v. statutory damages or actual and seizure of copies damages & unjust profits, destruction of infringing copies & devices, costs & attorneys fees, bars on imports, fines, & imprisonment
  5. 5. Proposed § 107(b)
  6. 6. Proposed § 301(g)