Title: Sharing is caring vs. stealing is wrong: a moral argument for limiting copyright protection
Author: Julian Hauser
Address: School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh, UK
Abstract: Copyright is at the centre of both popular and academic debate. That emotions are running high is hardly surprising - copyright influences who contributes what to culture, how culture is used, and even the kind of persons we are and come to be. Consequentialist, Lockean, and personality interest accounts are generally advanced in the literature to morally justify copyright law. I argue that these approaches fail to ground extensive authorial rights in intellectual creations and that only a small subset of the rights accorded by copyright law is justified. The pared-down version of copyright that I defend consists of the right to attribution, the right to have one's non-endorsement of modifications or uses of one's work explicitly noted, and the right to a share of the profit resulting from the commercial uses of one's work. I also cursorily explore whether contribution to another person's work gives rise to moral interests.
Keywords: copyright; intellectual property; applied ethics; digital rights; utilitarianism; Locke; Nozick; Hobbes; personality interests.
Int. J. of Technology Policy and Law, 2017 Vol.3, No.1, pp.68 - 85
Available online: 03 Jul 2017