Justification for IP

Posted in Uncategorized by coda on October 2, 2009
  • tags: Intellectual property rights

    • Dear President Obama and Vice President Biden,

      We, the undersigned, are just a few of the more than 11 million artists living, working, and creating across the United States. Our work brings significant cultural and economic value to our society – and contributes $1.52 trillion to the nation’s GDP. Yet that value is being disregarded as our rights and incentives to create are increasingly under threat.

      Hear us as we speak with one voice about the importance of creators’ rights.

When I read this letter, I was thinking about the various justifications for IP we covered in class. This letter has all the buzzwords: incentive, innovation, respect for property rights etc.
So what do anti-IP people say: illegal file sharing can help increase publicity and even promote sales. What kind of argument is this? Consider an analogy – Y steals a book from Waterstones. After reading it he passes it to his friends. Assume that his friends like the book and now go to Waterstones to buy books written by the author? Does this render the original act less of a theft in the first place?  What is fundamentally wrong with this argument? One possible answer is that it appears to suggest that authors have no right to expect their property rights respected. Can this be right?


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