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Let’s not also forget that rights are a priori natural – protected, not granted by law.
The word ‘right’ has become corrupted because people contract the unethical ‘legislatively created right’ to ‘right’, and misname government responsibilities as ‘rights’, e.g. everyone has a ‘right’ to free education, healthcare, etc.
The problem is, if things that aren’t rights are termed to be ‘rights’, it means people start thinking that natural rights are as flimsy or invalid as the things that aren’t.
(Natural) rights exist prior to government, and are recognised , e.g. by a constitution, and are the basis upon which the government is created – to protect those rights, not to derogate from them.
The US Constitution did not grant copyright (or permit its granting). People just like to think it did. It empowers the granting of a privilege termed ‘letters of marque’, but only empowers the securing of an individual’s exclusive right. It says nothing about granting any reproduction monopoly, necessarily prohibiting people’s cultural liberty (their right to copy, as annulled by Queen Anne in 1709, and by the US in its copy of that statute in 1790).
Individuals are human beings with rights. Publishing corporations are legal entities and so can have no rights (just as rocks can have no rights).
Given that copyright annuls our right to copy, and so derogates from our cultural liberty, mankind’s emancipation is achieved by abolishing copyright.
Rights are not a priori because they don’t exist in the first place. You do not have a right to life. You just have life. It is wrong for someone to take your life. It is incorrect to say that it is wrong for someone to take your right to life. The “right” is redundant and doesn’t add any special meaning to the discussion.
That word–”balance”–is also used in Mark Lemley’s Texas Law Review article on the “fundamentally misguided” nature of `IP’ law and rhetoric, which Wikipedia cites for that `IP’ terminology “did not enter popular usage until passage of the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980″.
Anthony, you say ‘wrong for someone to take your life’. This is what is meant by right, i.e. that someone has a natural need for life and an innate ability and imperative to protect it against those who might take it, and that this right should be recognised and protected by all. As you observe, rights are natural and self-evident. They are not granted, but recognised.
Of course the term ‘right’ doesn’t add any special meaning, it simply conveys meaning. Like most terms it eases discussion by obviating continual explanation. Well, that’s the theory.
[...] slavery analogy.~*~This is a syndicated post, which originally appeared at Mimi and Eunice » IP. View original post. Nina Paley is a creative artist and anti-copyright innovator. She is the creator of the animated [...]