Saturday, April 11, 2009

Swimming in the Deep Water of Policy - IP rights and human rights « Michael Dizon on Law and IT

I doubt my ability to comment on Michael Dizon's Reframing the debate - IP rights and human rights except to suggest reading the whole of his post. From my perspective, it serves as a reminder that proeprty rights are human rights a la John Locke (and a reminder of which always comes to me from Warren Zevon's Mr. Bad Example -

I opened up an agency somewhere down the line
To hire aboriginals to work the opal mines
But I attached their wages and took a whopping cut
And whisked away their workman's comp and pauperized the lot)
Back to Mr.Dizon:
"The main hindrance to thinking about IP rights as a human right is the predominant mindset that IP is primarily an economic right. I do not agree. IP “rights” even in an economic sense are more properly categorized a limited “privileges” granted to authors and creators as an incentive to create works and make them public. The inherent and essential flip side to these privileges is the underlying objective that the public has a right to access and use these creative works. The right of the public to access is part and parcel of this IP right. People normally forget about this right of the public to access and that these IP privileges have a social and cultural function and the emphasis of IP rights is not just with respect to the rights of the author but also the right of the public and the community. The right of the public to access and use creative works, which includes the freedom of expression and the right to take part in cultural life (e.g. the right to freely critique a copyrighted creative work like a novel) is properly a human right."