Intellectual Property Rights are Not Property
Treg D. Loyden
University of Phoenix
Dr. Peter Francis
May 08, 2009
Intellectual Property Rights are in fact government monopoly grants and not property. The Jeffersonian criteria for property is not met, thus time limits is imposed on the monopoly grant. Ideas, codes, formulas, recipes, all are not true private property.
In the U.S. Constitution we find Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, known as the "Copyright & Patent Clause. This clause empowers the American Congress
"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."
Since the beginning of America, both copyrights and patents have been a fundamental legal structure in American society. Both copyrights and patents are referred to as intellectual property rights (Epstein, 1985). Certainly, for hundreds of years now, the intellectual property rights legal structure surrounding both patents and copyrights has produced the unique mix and flavor of our economic culture that we see today. Yet even though Copyrights has the word "rights" in it, it truly is not a right in the usual natural law sense of "right" (Block, 2005). Most of all, "intellectual property" is not really property (Block, 2005). Patents and Copyrights are really just government monopoly grants (Block, 2005).
The Founders recognized this fact, but thought it necessary to include such monopoly grants in the Constitution. Those reasons historical reasons, if they were valid, may not be valid today. To understand this, we must go back to the beginning. John Locke had given the founders the Two Treaties of Government. He had given them the moral derivation and thus the basis of a private property system. To mix one's labor with scarce resources was to make something one's own (Wolff, 1991).
But few today know how Thomas Jefferson himself,...