On May 10, FSF President Randolph May and I published our Perspectives from FSF Scholars paper, "The Constitutional Foundations of Intellectual Property." Our paper briefly explores the constitutional principles behind copyright and patent. Both are expressly recognized in Aricle I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution.
As we explain in our paper, a Lockean-Madisonian formulation of government's purpose and of property rights grounds intellectual IP (IP) in natural right, adjusted to a social context for the public good. This Lockean-Madisonian approach bolsters the property rights status of IP in the face of recent criticisms levelled against copyright and patent systems.
Understanding IP constitutional underpinnings is a necessary first step in constructing an informed policymaking approach to the rules for copyright and patent. And it's all the more important as IP becomes more and more important to fostering innovation in our digital-age information economy.