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Justifying Intellectual Property Protection: Why the Interests of Content-Creators Usually Wins over Everyone Else's


I attempt to show that the law should, as a matter of political morality, provide limited protection of intellectual property interests. To this end, I argue that the issue of whether the law ought to coercively restrict liberty depends on an assessment of all the relevant competing interests. Further, I argue that the interests of content-creators in controlling the disposition of the content they create outweighs the interests of other persons in using that content in most, but not all, cases. I conclude that, in these cases, morality protects the interests of content-creators, but not the interests of other persons and hence would justify limited legal protection of the former interests.

Forthcoming in Emma Rooksby (ed.), Information Technology and Social Justice, Idea Group, 2006.

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