Intellectual Property Rights: A Western Tale

City University of Hong Kong
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Asia Pacific Law Review, 2008, 16 (2), pp. 219 - 239
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Even today, when the development and expansion of intellectual property protections is justified or criticised, the Western philosophical tradition is generally evoked. Appeals to natural rights, Lockean labour theories of property and Kantian or Hegelian theories of personality abound. Alternatively, economic principles and utilitarian rationales are drawn upon to rationalise or question intellectual property laws as incentive structures that produce a socially optimal supply of intellectual creations. In both these moral and utilitarian arguments, scholars address intellectual property laws purely abstractly, as promoting reified rights in unremarkable and indistinguishable intangibles.
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