Essay on Intellectual Property Theory - All details below, must use Harvard referencing and construct the answer around the outlined requirements.
“We agree …that copyright is intended to increase, and not to impede, the harvest of
knowledge. The rights conferred by copyright are designed to assure contributors to
the store of knowledge a fair return for their labors.” O’Connor, J. Harper & Row v. Nation
Enterprises, 471 U.S. 539 (1985), 6
In the context of UK copyright law, and with reference to at least two of the theories said
to justify the existence of intellectual property rights (including copyright law), and also
to relevant statutory provisions, and where appropriate, to case law, discuss and
analyse the accuracy of this statement, and whether it is necessary for copyright law to
strike a balance between the creators of copyright works and the users of such works
(i.e. the public)
• knowledge and understanding of the general principles of intellectual property law,
and the ability to find and synthesize information from relevant legal sources
• A critical assessment of the nature of this area of law, its general underlying principles,
and an awareness of its development
• The ability to construct a coherent discussion of the essay question, including reference to academic sources.
The word limit is 1000 words.
IP Theories relevant to this question ;
1. Utilitarianism – Jeremy Bentham
“greatest good” for the greatest number of people
Focus is upon the benefit for society
E.g. US IP Law – based on the US Constitution ‘for the promotion of science and the useful arts” – benefit to society
2. Natural Law Rights – John Locke
Take from nature and transform it into your property through labour
Only take what you need & leave the rest for society
Only ever intended to apply to land or other types of tangible property
3. Extension of Personality – Kant & Hegel
Ownership of your IP because it has come from your mind
May be appropriate for some creative forms of IP
How do you identify personality with the more industrial forms of IP?
Not all forms of IP can be justified the same way
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