Böhm-Bawerk on Patent and Copyright

by Stephan Kinsella on October 2, 2013

Says Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk:

“In order to avoid leaving an obvious gap in my treatment I wish to add here a few words by way of mention of the legally compulsive relationships of patronage which are based on a vendor’s exclusive right of sale. This group includes, besides others, such rights as patent rights and authors’ copyrights. Of these the latter have been a source of especial embarrassment to jurists who have been unable satisfactorily to classify them with either objective or personal rights. The conception of authors’ copyrights as intellectual property (the word, property, being used in a strictly legalistic sense and designating an objective right) bears so plainly the stamp of a fiction, resorted to in order to evade the burden of explanation, that it could not possibly prove satisfactory.”

See his “Whether Legal Rights and Relationships are Economic Goods,” reprinted in Shorter Classics of Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk, Libertarian Press: South Holland, IL (1962 [1881]; print; ebook), pp. 165–66.

For views of other Austrian/related luminaries on this topic, see:

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