Locke and Intellectual Property Rights

Locke and Intellectual Property Rights

Michael J. Scanlan (Oregon State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-576-4.ch003
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This chapter considers certain features of Locke’s account in Chapter V of his Second Treatise concerning how a natural right of ownership can arise in previously unowned goods. We note that some take this theory to be still applicable in our own day in situations of original acquisition of ownership in intellectual property. The chapter explains how a quasi-Lockean theory could support a very limited natural right to a species of intellectual property. But it also notes that this theory by itself is not strong enough to support a natural right in an intellectual property of the sort given by copyright. Such property rights must be provided as a result of positive law.

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