Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Constitution Day and IP Rights Protection

Today – September 17th – is Constitution Day. At the Free State Foundation, a good part of our work involves upholding constitutional principles. This aspect of our work includes promoting First Amendment free speech rights and Fifth Amendment property rights as well the limited government and rule of law principles that are at the core of our constitutional system. 
This year, as part of our commitment to promoting an understanding of constitutional principles and the rights secured by the Constitution, we have expanded our work in the intellectual property area. Intellectual property, after all, is property deserving of protection, just like other forms of property. Indeed, our Founders recognized the importance of intellectual property protection to the nation's well-being by specifically authorizing Congress, in Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, to secure IP rights. 
So, on this Constitution Day 2013, I want to take the opportunity to call to your attention the series of four FSF's "Perspectives from FSF Scholars" papers which explore foundational principles of intellectual property that are grounded in our constitutional system and which ought to remain firmly part of our constitutional commitment. The Perspectives are authored by my colleague Seth Cooper and me. 
The discussion in these scholarly – yet easily digestible and interesting! – papers ranges broadly from the natural rights, Lockean origin of intellectual property protection, to the significance James Madison's too little known "On Property" essay, to the collaborative and early efforts of Madison and Noah Webster to secure IP rights in the federal Constitution and early state constitutions, and on to an explanation as to why the Founders' anti-monopoly and pro-IP rights protection views were not inconsistent. 
Seth and I hope to be able to add to this IP foundational series with further papers. But, in the meantime, in the spirit of Constitution Day, if you haven't already read them, I hope you'll take the opportunity to put them on your reading list. 
Here they are: