Thomas Jefferson's On The Self-Evidence Of Copyright

2591 Words11 Pages
On the Self-Evidence of Copyright Abstract: Is there an innate or self-evident right to have control over the reproduction of work you have authored? Conversely, is the crime of unauthorized reproduction wrong in and of itself or wrong merely because it is currently illegal? At present, society as a whole does not share a common answer. On the Self-Evidence of Copyright If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. -Thomas Jefferson The copyright of authors has been solemnly adjudged ... to be a right of common law. The right to useful inventions seems with equal reason to belong to the inventors. -James Madison The concept of copyright is a veritable gordian knot of rights and restrictions. Copyright entails various prohibitions against such diverse acts as copying, distributing, performing, displaying, or creating derivative works. (Brinson & Radcliffe, 1994). Although the specific prohibitions against…show more content…
Subsequent authors applied Locke's natural right to property not only to physical products of labor but also to intellectual products as well. Citing Locke's arguments for a right of property, Blackstone directly argued for the natural right of an author to prevent unauthorized copies of his work: "When a man by the exertion of his rational powers has produced an original work, he has clearly a right to dispose of that identical work as he pleases, and any attempt to take it from him, [...] is an invasion of his right of

More about Thomas Jefferson's On The Self-Evidence Of Copyright

Open Document