A Defense of Intellectual Property Rights
Show Less

A Defense of Intellectual Property Rights

Richard A. Spinello and Maria Bottis

Richard A. Spinello and Maria Bottis defend the thesis that intellectual property rights are justified on non-economic grounds. The rationale for this moral justification is primarily inspired by the theory of John Locke. In the process of defending Locke, the authors confront the deconstructionist critique of intellectual property rights and remove the major barriers interfering with a proper understanding of authorial entitlement. The book also familiarizes the reader with the rich historical and legal tradition behind intellectual property protection.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 5: Foundations of Intellectual Property Rights

Richard A. Spinello and Maria Bottis


So far in this book, we have considered the various forms of legal protection for intellectual property rights along with the history of how those rights have evolved. We have also confronted the obstacles posed by post-modern philosophy and demonstrated the validity of the traditional conceptions of authorship, genius, and originality. An author-based entitlement remains valid, notwithstanding provocative questions about authorship raised by philosophers such as Michel Foucault. We now turn to the underlying philosophical and normative justification for intellectual property law. It is important to understand the secure normative foundation for the legal infrastructure supporting intellectual property rights. A property right is defined by Landes and Posner (1988, p. 266) as any ‘legally enforceable power to exclude others from using a resource, without the need to contract with them’. These rights offer both static and dynamic benefits: they prevent the overuse or misuse of a resource and they also provide an incentive to create new resources or enhance and improve existing ones. Most philosophers would agree with this definition of a right since they acknowledge that the essence of a property right is the ‘right to exclude others’ (Cohen 1928, p. 12).1 According to W. F. Hohfeld’s (1919) framework, property would be considered a claim-right, such that one individual (the right holder) has a claim on another (the duty-bearer) not to interfere with the right holder’s property or use it against his or her will. In Hohfeld’s classic work on rights theory, he distinguishes between a ‘claim right’,...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.