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Protection of intellectual property (IP) rights is indispensable to maintaining a vibrant economy, especially in the digital age as creativity and innovation increasingly take intangible forms. Long before the digital age, however, the U.S. Constitution secured the IP rights of authors and inventors to the fruits of their labors. The essays in The Constitutional Foundations of Intellectual Property: A Natural Rights Perspective explore the foundational underpinnings of intellectual property that informed the Constitution of 1787, and it explains how these concepts informed the further development of IP rights from the First Congress through Reconstruction. The essays address the contributions of important figures such as John Locke, George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, Noah Webster, Joseph Story, Daniel Webster, and Abraham Lincoln to the development of IP rights within the context of American constitutionalism. Claims that copyrights and patents are not property at all are in fashion in some quarters. This book’s essays challenge those dubious claims. Unlike other works that offer a strictly pragmatic or utilitarian defense of IP rights, this book seeks to recover the Constitution’s understanding of IP rights as ultimately grounded in the natural rights of authors and inventors.
- Seth L. Cooper, Senior Fellow, The Free State Foundation
- Randolph J. May, President, The Free State Foundation
- Prof. Mark F. Schultz, Senior Scholar & Co-Director of Academic Programs, Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property, George Mason University School of Law and Associate Professor, Southern Illinois University School of Law