A Philosophy of Intellectual Property: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

A Philosophy of Intellectual Property

1st Edition

By Peter Drahos


272 pages

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pub: 2016-11-30
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Are intellectual property rights like other property rights? More and more of the world’s knowledge and information is under the control of intellectual property owners. What are the justifications for this? What are the implications for power and for justice of allowing this property form to range across social life? Can we look to traditional property theory to supply the answers or do we need a new approach? Intellectual property rights relate to abstract objects - objects like algorithms and DNA sequences. The consequences of creating property rights in such objects are far reaching. A Philosophy of Intellectual Property argues that lying at the heart of intellectual property are duty-bearing privileges. We should adopt an instrumentalist approach to intellectual property and reject a proprietarian approach - an approach which emphasizes the connection between labour and property rights. The analysis draws on the history of intellectual property, legal materials, the work of Grotius, Pufendorf, Locke, Marx and Hegel, as well as economic, sociological and legal theory. The book is designed to be accessible to specialists in a number of fields as well as students. It will interest philosophers, political scientists, economists, legal scholars as well as those professionals concerned with policy issues raised by modern technologies and the information society.


’Legal scholars, law students and intellectual property lawyers will find this provocative book to be of great interest.’ Bimonthly Review of Law Books ’…this publication has much to offer students, scholars and practitioners of law, philosophy, economics and sociology in reading a broader understanding of the dimensions of intellectual property…a work of great insight…a unique and worthy contribution.’ Prometheus

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Justifying Intellectual Property: Back to the Beginning; Locke, Labour and the Intellectual Commons; Hegel: The Spirit of Intellectual Property; Abstract Objects in Productive Life: Marx’s Story; Property, Opportunity and Self-Interest; The Power of Abstract Objects; The Justice of Information; Intellectual Property: For Instrumentalism, Against Proprietarianism.

About the Series

Applied Legal Philosophy

Applied Legal Philosophy
The principal objective of this series is to encourage the publication of books which adopt a theoretical approach to the study of particular areas or aspects of law, or deal with general theories of law in a way which is directed at issues of practical, moral and political concern in specific legal contexts. The general approach is both analytical and critical and relates to the socio-political background of law reform issues. This series includes studies of all the main areas of law, presented in a manner which relates to the concerns of specialist legal academics and practitioners. Each book makes an original contribution to an area of legal study while being comprehensible to those engaged in a wide variety of disciplines. Their legal content is principally Anglo-American, but a wide-ranging comparative approach is encouraged and authors are drawn from a variety of jurisdictions.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Intellectual Property / General