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Deliberatepixel / Intellectual Privilege

Intellectual Privilege

Wow - Lessig points to a book-in-progress by Tom Bell about "intellectual property" - or, as he is redefining it, intellectual privilege:

I here offer a third view of copyright. I largely agree with my friends on the left that copyright represents not so much a form of property as it does a policy device designed to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" (as the Constitution puts it). I thus call copyright a form of intellectual privilege.

Like my friends on the right, however, I hold our common law rights in very high regard. Hence my complaint against copyright: it violates the rights we would otherwise enjoy at common law to peaceably enjoy the free use our throats, pens, and presses. That is not to say that copyright is per se unjustified. We can excuse facial violations of our common law rights, such as the takings effectuated by taxation or the restraints imposed by antitrust law, as the costs of obtaining a greater good. But it does mean that copyright qualifies, at best, as a necessary evil.

When someone can sum up what I myself think about copyright in a couple of paragraphs like that, I can't wait to read his finished book.



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