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LAW Why Intellectual Property?: Rationales and Critiques of IP Law

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LAW 517

Why Intellectual Property?: Rationales and Critiques of IP Law

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Recommended for route(s):

[ Academia ] [ Litigation ] [ Regulatory & Policy ] Business Law: General

Why it is relevant for ...

[ Academia ] [ Litigation ] [ Regulatory & Policy ] as a Related Elective for those interested in Legal Theory : Students interested in legal theory will enjoy this course. It examines the justifications for using a "property" model for creative works. Future IP lawyers, too, should know something about the kinds of protections suggested by legal theorists as alternatives to the current property model. Both case law and statutory law may be influenced by the writing of legal scholars.

General course Description:

Why do societies decide to grant special legal protection to various types of creative works? A number of answers have been given over the years. Some are utilitarian: we grant these rights because doing so maximizes social welfare. Some are deontological: we grant rights because this is morally required in a just society. We will examine these various justifications, as well as variants on them. We will also ask how a society, having decided to grant some version of IP rights, ought best structure them. Should they be true property rights, with all or most of the powers this implies (creator control over uses, right to compensation from exploitation, etc.), or something else? Would a state-backed reward system work better, so that compensation is divorced from individual control? Should compensation for successful creators be limited or capped, as part of a wider attempt to moderate the distributional impacts of granting individual property rights; or must we tolerate ¿big winners¿ as an inducement or symbolic reward for other creators? We will address these and related questions by reading two sets of materials: (1) classic treatments of property rights (Locke, Kant, etc.) and social justice (Rawls); and (2) material from the contemporary literature on IP theory. We may also host some of the most interesting scholars working in the field of IP theory today, to come and explain their thinking and their work.

Course Style: A Substantive/ Perspective course looks at law from an external or non-traditional standpoint.

Course Frequency: Offered once a year

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