Copyright Law and the Progress of Science and the Useful Arts

Copyright Law and the Progress of Science and the Useful Arts

Elgar Law, Technology and Society series

Alina Ng

The American Constitution empowers Congress to enact copyright laws to ‘promote the progress of science and the useful arts’. This book offers the first in-depth analysis of the connection between copyright law as a legal institution and the constitutional goal of promoting social and cultural advancement.

Chapter 4: A Second Opportunity

Alina Ng

Subjects: innovation and technology, technology and ict, law - academic, intellectual property law


To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8, US Constitution If ‘America is the land of the second chance’, as George W. Bush said in his 2004 State of the Union speech, the second chance to identify normative principles of justice for the copyright system definitely occurred in the United States when the federal Constitutional Convention, which had convened in Philadelphia in May of 1787, began to think about copyright in the United States three months later. The US Constitution represents the foundational agreement that united the states of the union and established a new and original framework for government; it is a multilateral bargain that sets up the institution of rights, the rule of law, and the democratic processes for participation in the new society. For the copyright system, this was a momentous event because it offered a new opportunity to identify the rights, duties, and liberties of authors, publishers, and users of literary and artistic works in a new normative order formed with a clear institutional goal. In the United Kingdom, the absence of a written constitution, in the sense that there is no single core document particularising individual rights, would make it more difficult to identify a normative order comprising moral and ethical principles with the encouragement of learning as a goal that would be apparent to those trained in the law,...

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