Lockean Intellectual Property Refuted, by Cezary Błaszczyk, Scienza & Politica, vol. XXXII, no. 63 (2020).
Abstract: Locke’s theory of property is irreconcilable with intellectual property. Property-like titles in ideal objects cannot be introduced within the framework of the natural law, because they could constrain others from acts necessary for their survival. Nevertheless, followers of Locke’s theory of politics choose to belittle this conclusion and even Locke himself supported early copyright legislation. The inconsistency is important, for it depicts the problem of legitimization of intellectual property as political and demonstrates liberal reification of various aspects of social life.
This paper is solid, thorough, conclusive, and full of brilliant insights. It demolishes the case that IP, propounded by some such as Adam Mossoff, is a natural right or that Lockean theory supports IP. Related:
- Locke’s Big Mistake: How the Labor Theory of Property Ruined Political Theory: Transcript
- Locke on IP; Mises, Rothbard, and Rand on Creation, Production, and “Rearranging” (esp. the arguments by Tom Bell and Ronan Deazely that Locke’s thought does not support IP as a natural right)