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Unformatted text preview: The Philosophy of Intellectual Property
Reprinted with permission of the publisher Copyright (c) 1988 Georgetown University Law Center and
Georgetown Law Journal
77 Geo. L.J. 287 * Luce Scholar and Mellon Fellow in the
Humanities, 1988. B.A. 1982, Oberlin College;
J.D. 1986, Harvard University.
Use of this article without the permission of Georgetown
University Law Center is expressly prohibited. As a slogan, "property" does not have the
siren's call of words like "freedom," "equality,"
or "rights." The Declaration of Independence
speaks boldly of liberty, but only obliquely of
property -- through the imagery of the "pursuit
of Happiness." n1 This, however, should not
obscure the fact that ideas about property have
played a central role in shaping the American
legal order. For every Pilgrim who came to the
New World in search of religious freedom,
there was at least one colonist who came on
the promise of a royal land grant or one slave
compelled to come as someone else's property.
In the centuries since our founding, the
concept of property has changed dramatically
in the United States.
mentioned change is the trend towards
treating new things as property, such as job security and income from social programs. n2
A less frequently discussed trend is that
historically recognized but nonetheless
atypical forms of property, such as intellectual
property, are becoming increasingly important
relative to the old paradigms of property, such
as farms, factories, and furnishings. As our
attention continues to shift from tangible to
intangible forms of property, we can expect a
growing jurisprudence of intellectual property.
The foundation for such a jurisprudence
must be built from an understanding of the
philosophical justifications for property rights
to ideas -- a subject that has never been
addressed systematically in American legal
literature. Rights in our society cannot depend
for their justification solely upon statutory or
constitutional provisions. As Justice Stewart
said in Board of Regents v. Roth, "[p]roperty
interests . . . are not created by the
Constitution. Rather they are created and their
dimensions are defined by existing rules and
understandings that stem from an independent
source. . . ."
n3 This article analyzes the
intellectual property by testing whether Page 2
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * traditional theories of property are applicable
to the very untraditional field of intellectual
Part I of this Article maps out this field by
describing intellectual property.
explores and explains the justifications for
ascribing ownership of such property. The
first justification it presents is the Lockean
Constitution's vision of property. This labor
justification can be expressed either as a
normative claim or as a purely incentivebased, instrumental theory. Both of these
aspects of the labor theory are examined in
The main alternative to a labor justification
is a "personality theory" that describes
property as an expression of the self. This
theory, the subject of [*289] Part III, is
Instead, its origins lie in
continental philosophy, especially the work of
Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. n4 Part III
argues, however, that more familiar civil rights
doctrines, specifically rights of expression and
privacy, also can provide a foundation for
personality theory in intellectual property.
This civil rights justification serves, in large
part, as a bridge from American legal doctrines
to the more abstract personality justification.
When I say "justification," I do not mean
that every aspect of our system of intellectual
property be tortured on some rack of
theoretical validity. Instead, I hope to show
that the existing law supports, to varying
degrees, the credibility of different theories of
property and that these theories support, to
varying degrees, the validity of existing laws.
Some might call this a funhouse epistemology:
two things becoming more acceptable by
mirroring one another. In fact, this metaphor of "mirroring" is a powerful one that recently
has inspired both philosophers and legal
n5 The latter usually have been
concerned with the normative question of when
and how the law should mirror reality. This
article's concern differs in two respects. First,
its reflection is between law and philosophical
theory, not between law and pragmatic reality.
Second, this article is intended mainly to be
descriptive and not prescriptive.
concerned primarily with answering one
question: Does the law of intellectual property
reflect general theories of property?
answering this question, however, I invariably
fall into discussions motivated by an image of
what the theory should be and, reflecting from
that image, of what the law should be.
In the end, I suspect that many people who
think about property rights are propelled by
the same forces that provoked Proudhon to
proclaim that "all Property is theft." n6 His
slogan, however, is incoherent if taken literally:
the idea of theft presupposes that someone else
holds legitimate title. n7 If Proudhon [*290]
meant to exempt certain property from his
indictment, then the original dilemma is
merely pushed back to the question of defining
and justifying the exemption. One of this
article's fundamental propositions is that
property can be justified on either the labor or
personality theories and that it should be
justified with both. Properly elaborated, the
labor and personality theories together exhaust
the set of morally acceptable justifications of
intellectual property. In short, intellectual
property is either labor or personality, or it is
I. WHAT COUNTS AS INTELLECTUAL
In many quarters, property is viewed as an
inherently conservative concept -- a social Page 3
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * device for the maintenance of the status quo.
In the eighteenth century, Edmund Burke
argued that property stabilized society and
prevented political and social turmoil that, he
believed, would result from a purely
meritocratic order. n8 Property served as a
counterweight protecting the class of persons
who possessed it against competition from
nonpropertied people of natural ability and
To Burke, the French National
Assembly -- dominated by upstart lawyers
from the provinces -- exemplified the risk of
disorder and inexperience of an unpropertied
n9 In contrast, the British
parliament, a proper mix of talented
commoners and propertied Lords, ruled
The conservative influence of property
does not, however, depend on primogeniture
or even inheritance -- features that gave
property a valuable role in Burke's political
system as well as in the political theories
advanced by Hegel and Plato. n11 Within a
single lifetime, property tends to make the
property owner more risk-averse.
aversion applies both to public decisions
[*291] affecting property, such as taxes, and to
personal decisions that might diminish one's
property, such as investment strategies and
Inheritance and capital
appreciation are only additional characteristics
of traditional notions of property that tend to
stabilize social stratification.
Intellectual property is far more egalitarian.
Of limited duration and obtainable by anyone,
intellectual property can be seen as a reward,
an empowering instrument, for the talented
upstarts Burke sought to restrain. Intellectual
property is often the propertization of what we
call "talent." It tends to shift the balance toward
the talented newcomers whom Burke
mistrusted by giving them some insurance against the predilections of the propertied class
that had been their patrons.
But this is only part of the truth. Much
intellectual property is produced only after
considerable financial investment, whether it
be in the research laboratory or in the graduate
education of the scientist using the facility. It
would not be surprising if historical studies
showed that most holders of copyrights and
patents come from at least middle-class
backgrounds. For every Abraham Lincoln
n12 or Edmonia Lewis n13 who lifted him or
herself from a simple background, there is a
Wittgenstein or Welty who enjoyed comfort
during his or her formative years. One cannot
call the history of intellectual property a purely
proletarian struggle. While ancient Roman
laws afforded a form of copyright protection to
n14 the rise of Anglo-Saxon
copyright was a saga of publishing interests
attempting to protect a concentrated market
and a central government attempting to apply
a subtle form of censorship to the new
technology of the printing press. n15
In the final analysis, intellectual property
shares much of the origins and orientation of
all forms of property. At the same time,
however, it is a more neutral institution than
other forms of property: its limited scope and
duration tend to prevent the very
championed. n16 Because such accumulation
is less typical, the realm of intellectual
property has less of the laborer/capitalist
hierarchy of Marxist theory. The breakthrough
patent that produces a Polaroid company is
more the exception than the rule. The rule is
the modestly successful novelist, the minor
[*292] poet, and the university researcher -- all
of whom may profit by licensing or selling
property may be a liberal influence on society Page 4
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * inasmuch as coming to own intellectual
property is often tied to being well-educated.
If people become increasingly progressive with
increasing education, intellectual property
confers economic power on men and women
of talent who generally tend to reform society,
not because they are haphazard Burkian
goblins, but because they have well-informed
At the most practical level, intellectual
property is the property created or recognized
by the existing legal regimes of copyright,
patent, trademark, and trade secret. n17 We
also must include property recognized by
similar legal regimes. For example, federal law
now protect original semiconductor masks.
n18 "Gathered information" is another genre of
intellectual property. Copyright law protects
the particular arrangement of the contents of
telephone directories and reference works,
n19 while other forms of gathered information
may have quasi-property status under
International News Service v. Associated Press.
n20 Like most subjects, intellectual property
has grey zones on the periphery, such as the
right to publicity -- whether, in property style,
someone can control his public image. n21
While this article is devoted to American
intellectual property, a positivist's definition of
intellectual property need not be limited to
citations to the United States Code. First,
several well-subscribed international treaties
create international standards for what counts
as intellectual property. n22 At the [*293]
level of national laws, even socialist economies
either have recognized roughly similar
parameters to intellectual property or at least
have averred their subscription to the general
idea of legal regimes for copyright, trademark,
and patent. n23 This does not mean that there
is international uniformity in the protection
granted to intellectual property, only that there are generally accepted baselines of protection.
Some countries extend protection well beyond
these baselines, while others benignly ignore
enforcing or intentionally cut back these
There is good reason to think that these
differences among national legal systems do
not represent profound differences in the
underlying notions of what intellectual
property is all about. Developing countries
may fail to promulgate or enforce intellectual
property laws simply because these laws are
not critical to maintaining immediate social
intentionally deny protection to intellectual
property as part of their official development
strategy. Taiwan's longstanding refusal to
honor copyrights is an infamous case, n24 but
usually the failure to protect intellectual
property rights has been more limited and
tailored to particular fears of foreign economic
n25 Such elimination of
intellectual property protection [*294] does
not reflect a different conception of intellectual
property so much as it does a countervailing
social policy. In the final tally, there is at least
as much continuity in different societies'
understandings of intellectual property as in
their respective conceptions of freedom of
expression, equality, and property in general.
A universal definition of intellectual
property might begin by identifying it as
nonphysical property which stems from, is
identified as, and whose value is based upon
some idea or ideas. Furthermore, there must
be some additional element of novelty.
Indeed, the object, or res, of intellectual
property may be so new that it is unknown to
anyone else. The novelty, however, does not
have to be absolute. What is important is that
at the time of propertization the idea is
thought to be generally unknown. The res Page 5
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * cannot be common currency in the intellectual
life of the society at the time of propertization.
The res is a product of cognitive processes
and can exist privately, known only to its
creator. This private origin is a reasonable
means to distinguish the res of intellectual
property from the res of other intangible
properties such as stock or stock options.
Although the "inputs" for the res of intellectual
property are social -- the education and
nurture of the creator -- the assembling of the
idea occurs within the mind of the creator
which produces something beyond those
inputs. Sometimes the addition is more effort
than creativity, as in compilations of
information or number-crunching.
people disfavor describing such efforts as
"ideas," but I will use "idea" to refer to this
broad notion of the res, understanding "idea"
to be shorthand for the unique product of
Intellectual property also may be thought
of as the use or the value of an idea. Where X
is the idea, intellectual property is defined by
the external functions of X.
introduces the idea into society and, like Henry
Higgins, he seeks to control the social calendar
of his creation. This Pygmalion story is more
apropos than first meets the eye. The creator's
control is never complete and he may find
himself -- like Pygmalion, Higgins, or Dr.
Frankenstein -- fighting to control that which
he has introduced into the world. The most
interesting areas of intellectual property law
tend to be just those places in which people are
trying to hold on to their creations against
those who want the creation unfettered from
its master. For example, in 1985, Samuel
Beckett challenged the Harvard American
production of Beckett's Endgame.
playwright screamed about the integrity of his art; the actors screamed about the freedom of
their art, and there was much public debate
about constitutional protection of speech,
theatre versus film, and the evilness of
publishing houses. n27
Even without such debates, intellectual
property -- like all property -- remains an
amorphous bundle of rights. However, there
are some clear limits to the bundle of rights we
will drape around an idea. First, these rights
invariably focus on physical manifestations of
the res. In the words of one commentator, "[a]
fundamental principle common to all genres of
intellectual property is that they do not carry
any exclusive right in mere abstract ideas.
Rather, their exclusivity touches only the
concrete, tangible, or physical embodiments of
an abstraction." n28
Even regarding physical embodiments,
there are limitations on intellectual property
rights. Copyrighted materials may be copied
within the broad limits of statutorily
recognized "fair use." n29 "Fair use" focuses
on personal use or use which is not directly for
profit. Yet such uses can be public, such as
quoting another's work. Although patents do
not have a similar exemption for personal use,
patent protection is subject to a judicially
created exception: the patent holder has no
right against the person whose "use is for
experiments for the sole purposes of gratifying
a philosophical taste or curiosity or for
instruction and amusement."
limitations are motivated, in part, by
pragmatic considerations as to the difficulty of
policing such infringements. These limitations,
however, also serve the perhaps primary
objective of intellectual property: to "promote
the Progress of Science and useful Arts" n31
by increasing society's stock of knowledge.
Both concerns are best served by limiting
property rights over ideas. Page 6
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * Yet even these limited rights are not
draped over all ideas. Everyday ideas, like
thinking to walk the dog on a shorter leash or
to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower on a first
date, are not the subject of intellectual property
rights. At the opposite extreme, the most
extraordinary ideas or discoveries are also
beyond the ken of legal protection: the
calculus, the Pythagorean [*296] theorem, the
idea of a fictional two-person romance, the
cylindrical architectural column, or a simple
algorithm. These extraordinary ideas usually
are broadly applicable concepts, but they can
be very specific -- as in the case of accurate
details on a navigation map. I will show how
justifications of intellectual property can
account for denying the creators of these sorts
of ideas property rights over them.
These limits might lead one to conclude
that intellectual property is especially positivist
in origin, at least compared to property rights
over land and chattels. That conclusion may
be myopic. Many physical objects also are
beyond appropriation, like navigable rivers,
beaches, and the airspace in congested urban
The use of physical property is
circumscribed by laws on easements, zoning,
and nuisance. Even the apparent ability to
enforce exclusivity over physical property may
pose less of a difference than one would think.
It is certainly easier for me to enforce my
exclusivity over my apartment than over my
short story, but what about my ability to
exclude others from a ten-thousand-acre
Colorado ranch? Is the patent holder worse off
than the holder of distant and extensive real
Perhaps the greatest difference between the
bundles of intellectual property rights and the
bundles of rights over other types of property
is that intellectual property always has a selfdefined expiration, a built-in sunset. Imagine how different Western society would be if it
had developed on the basis of a one-hundredpercent inheritance tax.
powerfully distinguishes intellectual property
from other property. The remainder of the
article explains, at various junctures, how this
sunset enhances the social neutrality of
intellectual property rights and improves the
fit between these laws and the theories by
which they can be justified.
II. A LOCKEAN JUSTIFICATION
Reference to Locke's Two Treatises of
Government is almost obligatory in essays on
the constitutional aspects of property. For
Locke, property was a foundation for an
elaborate vision that opposed an absolute and
n32 For the
Founding Fathers, Locke was a foundation for
an elaborate vision opposed to a monarchy
that was less absolute, but seemed no less
Locke's theory of property is itself subject
to slightly different interpretations.
interpretation is that society rewards labor
with property purely on the instrumental
grounds that we must provide rewards to get
labor. In contrast, a normative interpretation
of this labor theory says that labor should be
rewarded. This part of the article argues that
Locke's labor theory, [*297] under either
interpretation, can be used to justify
intellectual property without many of the
problems that attend its application to physical
A. LOCKE'S PROPERTY THEORY
The general outline of Locke's property
theory is familiar to generations of students. In
Chapter V of the Second Treatise of Government,
Locke begins the discussion by describing a
state of nature in which goods are held in
common through a grant from God. n33 God Page 7
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * grants this bounty to humanity for its
enjoyment but these goods cannot be enjoyed
in their natural state. n34 The individual must
convert these goods into private property by
exerting labor upon them. This labor adds
value to the goods, if in no other way than by
allowing them to be enjoyed by a human
Locke proposes that in this primitive state
there are enough unclaimed goods so that
everyone can appropriate the objects of his
labors without infringing upon goods that
have been appropriated by someone else. n35
Although normally understood as descriptive
of the common, the enough and as good
condition n36 also is conceptually descriptive
of human beings.
In other words, this
condition is possible because the limited
capacities of humans put a natural ceiling on
how much each individual may appropriate
The enough and as good condition protects
Locke's labor justification from any attacks
asserting that property introduces immoral
inequalities. Essentially the enough and as
good condition is an equal opportunity
provision [*298] leading to a desert-based, but
noncompetitive allocation of goods: each person
can get as much as he is willing to work for
without creating meritocratic competition
What justly can be reduced to property in
this primitive state also is limited by Locke's
introduction of the non-waste condition. This
condition prohibits the accumulation of so
much property that some is destroyed without
being used. n37 Limited by this condition,
Locke suggests that even after the primitive
state there sometimes can be enough and as
good left in the common to give those without
property the opportunity to gain it. Spain and America, he says, illustrate the continuing
applicability of this justification of property.
Until this point in his exposition, Locke
does not explore the notion of labor and the
desert it creates. His theory is largely a
justification by negation: under his two
conditions there are no good reasons for not
granting property rights in possessions. This
has led scholars such as Richard Epstein to a
possession-based interpretation of Locke.
Epstein argues that "first possession" forms the
basis for legal title and believes that this is the
heart of Locke's position. n39 For Epstein, the
talk of labor is a smokescreen hiding the
fundamental premise of Locke's argument that
a person possesses his own body:
Yet if that possession is good enough to
establish ownership of self, then why is not
possession of external things, unclaimed by
others, sufficient as well? The irony of the
point should be manifest. The labor theory is
called upon to aid the theory that possession is
the root of title; yet it depends for its own
success upon the proposition that the
possession of self is the root of title to self. n40
It is unclear why Epstein should reach this
Locke never mentions one's
possession of one's body as the basis for one's
property in one's body; he begins simply by
asserting one's body is one's property. n41 Yet
Epstein connects property to possession by
saying, "[t]he obvious line for justification is
that each person is in possession of himself, if
not by choice or [*299] conscious act, then by
a kind of natural necessity." n42
Epstein directly, albeit unknowingly,
points out a critical difference: we are not in
possession of any particular external objects by
a kind of natural necessity. If we were, the
need for property laws would be greatly Page 8
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * diminished. Each person, like a tree, would be
rooted to his own parcel of external objects;
this would be "of natural necessity," and no
one would try to displace another from his
natural and necessary attachments. Precisely
because "natural necessity" goes no further
than the mind/body link, reliance upon the
"possession" of body as a foundation for a
possession-based justification of property is a
bit disingenuous. n43
Epstein's possession-based theory also
seems inaccurate because Locke offers a
positive justification for property that
buttresses his labor theory. He suggests that
granting people property rights in goods
procured through their labor "increase[s] the
common stock of mankind," n44 a utilitarian
argument grounded in increasing mankind's
This justification is called into question by
an obvious problem.
If the new wealth
remains the private property of the laborer, it
does not increase the common stock. If it can
be wantonly appropriated by the social mob,
the laborer will realize quickly that he has no
motivation to produce property and increase
the common stock. One solution would be to
rely upon the laborer's donations to the
common, but increasing the common stock
cannot be made to depend on supererogatory
acts. The better solution -- one that Locke in
fact advocated -- is to make this added value
potentially part of the common stock by
introducing the money economy. n45
In depicting the transition to a money
economy, Locke assumes that: (1) the
individual is capable of appropriating more
than she can use; (2) the individual will be
motivated to do so; and (3) nothing is wrong
with this other than waste. Locke condemned
waste as an unjustified diminution of the common stock of potential property. To allow
goods to perish after appropriating them -- and
thereby removing them from a state in which
others could have made use of them -- violates
"the Law of Nature."
n46 Stripped of its
Lockean vestments, this non-waste principle
can also be understood as an [*300] impulse
to avoid labor when it produces no benefits.
The waste is not just spoiled food, but the
energy used gathering it. The non-waste
condition, however, allows the individual to
barter for things which he can enjoy, which
may be more durable, and which have been
gathered as surplus by other individuals
Finally, Locke justifies the allocation of
property in this more advanced money
economy by tacit consent. For Locke, positive
laws that manifest "disproportionate and
unequal possession of the Earth" derive their
authority from the tacit consent that people
have given to be governed.
writers have debated how much importance
should be put on this hypothetical consent.
n48 In the final analysis, Locke's overall
scheme for property can be viewed as an alloy
of the labor and tacit consent theories. n49 Yet
it is the labor justification that has always been
considered uniquely Lockean. Accordingly,
when I refer to a "Lockean" theory of property,
I will be referring to his labor justification.
We can justify propertizing ideas under
Locke's approach with three propositions: first,
that the production of ideas requires a person's
labor; second, that these ideas are appropriated
from a "common" which is not significantly
devalued by the idea's removal; and third, that
ideas can be made property without breaching
the non-waste condition.
implicitly accept these propositions. Indeed,
the Lockean explanation of intellectual
property has immediate, intuitive appeal: it Page 9
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * seems as though people do work to produce
ideas and that the value of these ideas -especially since there is no physical component
-- depends solely upon the individual's mental
"work." The following sections of this article
test the strength of such a vision.
B. LABOR AND THE PRODUCTION OF
A society that believes ideas come to
people as manna from heaven must look
somewhere other than Locke to justify the
establishment of intellectual property. The
labor theory of property does not work if one
subscribes to a pure "eureka" theory of ideas.
Therefore, the initial question might be framed
in two different ways. First, one would want
to determine if society [*301] believes that the
production of ideas requires labor. Second,
one might want to know whether or not,
regardless of society's beliefs, the production of
ideas actually does require labor. This second
question is the metaphysical one; in its
superficial. It is not. We are concerned with a
justification of intellectual property, and social
attitudes -- "understandings" as Justice Stewart
said -- may be the only place to start.
Some writers begin with the assumption
that ideas always or usually are the product of
labor. n50 For example, Professor Douglas
Baird assumes that although one cannot
physically possess or occupy ideas, property in
ideas is justified because people "have the right
to enjoy the fruits of their labor, even when the
labors are intellectual." n51 He believes the
great weakness in this justification is that
others also need free access to our ideas. n52
In Lockean terms, this is an "enough and as
Baird, however, never
considers the prospect that idea-making may
not involve labor. Of course, there are clear instances in
which ideas seem to be the result of labor: the
complete plans to a new suspension bridge, the
stage set for a Broadway show, a scholar's
finished dissertation involving extensive
research, or an omnibus orchestration of some
composer's concertos. The peripheral realms
of intellectual property also provide examples
in which the object immediately seems to be
the product of tremendous work: news stories
gathered and disseminated by wire services, or
stock indexes calculated by a financial house.
The images of Thomas Edison inventing the
light bulb and George Washington Carver
researching the peanut come to mind as
examples of laborious idea-making. As society
has moved toward more complicated
technologies, the huge scales of activity
required by most research, involving time,
money, and expertise, have made the
autonomous inventor a rarity. This trend
strengthens the image of idea-making as labor
akin to the mechanical labor that operates
industrial assembly lines.
Yet as we move toward increasingly large
research laboratories that produce patentable
ideas daily, we should not be so entranced by
the image of a factory that we immediately
assume there is labor in Silicon Valley. Locke,
after all, begins his justification of property
with the premise that initially [*302] only our
bodies are our property. n53 Our handiwork
becomes our property because our hands -and the energy, consciousness, and control that
fuel their labor -- are our property. n54 The
point here is not validation of Epstein's link of
property with bodily self-possession but rather
the more general observation that Locke linked
property to the product of the individual
We must examine the
production of ideas more fully if we expect to Page 10
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * show that their creation involves Lockean
1. The "Avoidance" View of Labor
If we surveyed people on their attitudes
toward idea-making, what might we find?
First, we would probably find that many
people who spend time producing ideas prefer
this activity to manual labor. It probably also
is true that many manual laborers would
rather spend time producing ideas than
performing manual labor. That an idea-maker
prefers idea-making to farming, roofing, or
putting screws in widgets suggests that ideamaking may not be viewed as labor in the
same way that the latter activities are. It may
share this distinction with such professions as
competitive sports. Yet at least at some level of
desires, the idea-maker probably prefers to be
on vacation than to be in his office or
laboratory. For most people creation is less fun
than recreation. Although "idea work" is often
exhilarating and wonderful, it is something we
generally have to discipline ourselves to do,
like forcing oneself to till the fields or work the
This discussion depicts labor in one
particular way: something which people avoid
or want to avoid, something they don't like, an
activity they engage in because they must.
Lawrence Becker aptly has described Locke's
view of labor as a "proposal that labor is
something unpleasant enough so that people
do it only in the expectation of benefits." n55
In fact, Locke himself refers to labor as "pains."
One commentator has observed that this
concept of labor is more likely the product of
experience than logical rigor:
[Comparing labor and property] is
complicated by an equivocation about the idea
of labor, which is dominated by the metaphor of sweat on the brow. Hence it is that the least
imaginative work counts most securely as
labor. The squires and merchants of the
seventeenth century were far from idle men,
but administration and entrepreneurship do
not so obviously qualify for the title of labor as
the felling of trees and the planting of corn.
[*303] In an understanding of labor based
on the notion of "avoidance," labor is defined
as an unpleasant activity not desirable in and
of itself and even painful to some degree.
At this point we can separate the
normative proposition of the labor theory from
the instrumental argument with which it is
n58 The normative
proposition states: the unpleasantness of labor
should be rewarded with property. In this
proposition, the "should" is a moral or ethical
imperative, which is not based on any
consideration of the effects of creating property
In comparison, the instrumental
argument is directly concerned with those
effects. It proposes that the unpleasantness of
labor should be rewarded with property
because people must be motivated to perform labor.
In principle, the two propositions can coexist
but neither requires acceptance of the other. In
practice, however, the two not only coexist, but
the instrumental argument often seems to be
treated as a "proof" of the normative argument.
The instrumental claim has a utilitarian
foundation: we want to promote labor because
labor promotes the public good. Once we
recognize that property is needed to motivate
work for the public good, we may transform
the reward into a right just as we often convert
systematically granted benefits into rights
deserved by the recipients. Perhaps we do this
because it would be inconsistent and
disconcerting to say that some systematically
granted benefit is not deserved. Perhaps we Page 11
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * just make the transition from instrumental to
normative propositions through lack of
attention. For example, in the 1954 case Mazer
v. Stein, n59 the Court said:
The economic philosophy behind the
clause empowering Congress to grant patents
and copyrights is the conviction that
encouragement of individual effort by personal
gain is the best way to advance public welfare
through the talents of authors and inventors . .
. Sacrificial days devoted to such creative
activities deserve rewards commensurate with
the services rendered." n60
As Mazer demonstrates, it is strikingly easy
to move from an instrumental discussion of
consequences to an assumption of just
Indeed, when the normative proposition
emerges in court opinions it is usually used as
an adjunct to the instrumental argument. The
instrumental argument clearly has dominated
copyrights and patents.
Constitution's copyright and patent clause is
[*304] cast in instrumental terms. Congress is
granted the power to create intellectual
property rights in order "[T]o promote the
Progress of Science and useful Arts." n61 As
President Lincoln remarked, "the inventor had
no special advantage from his invention
[under English law prior to 1624]. The patent
system changed this . . . [I]t added the fuel of
interest to the fire of genius in discovery and
production of new and useful things." n62 In
almost all of its decisions on patents, the
Supreme Court has opined that property rights
are needed to motivate idea-makers. n63 This
instrumental justification is the heart of what
Judge Easterbrook has called the Supreme
Court's "Ex Ante Perspective on Intellectual
Property." n64 The wide acceptance of the instrumental
argument suggests wide acceptance of the
premise that idea-making is a sufficiently
unpleasant activity to count as labor that
Admittedly, this hardly is a tight argument.
Idea-making just as easily could be a neutral
activity or even a pleasant activity whose
pursuit individuals covet.
The issue is not whether idea-making is an
absolutely unpleasant activity, but whether it
is comparatively less pleasant and less
desirable than other activities. n65 As Peter
Rosenberg writes in his treatise on patent law,
"[w]hile necessity may be the mother of
invention, the quest for new products and
technologies must fiercely compete against the
demands for current consumption." n66 The
judgments we make about most forms of labor
are not that they are absolutely unpleasant, but
that they are relatively unpleasant. For most
people, raking leaves is relatively unpleasant
compared to sitting and watching them fall.
Similarly, there is a widespread attitude that
idea-making is not such a pleasant activity that
people will choose it, by itself, over recreation.
At least, people will not choose it in sufficient
numbers to [*305] meet our collective needs.
This same characterization applies to labor in
the fields, the forests, and the factories. That is
our best grounds for assuming that ideamaking is a form of labor.
If we believe that an avoidance theory of
labor justifies intellectual property, we are left
with two categories of ideas: those whose
production required unpleasant labor and
those produced by enjoyable labor. Are the
latter to be denied protection? This strange
result applies to all fruits of labor, not just
2. The "Value-Added" Labor Theory Page 12
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * Another interpretation of Locke's labor
justification can be called the "labor-desert" or
"value-added" theory. This position "holds
that when labor produces something of value
to others -- something beyond what morality
requires the laborer to produce -- then the
laborer deserves some benefit for it." n67 This
understanding of property does not require an
analysis of the idea of labor. Labor is not
necessarily a process that produces value to
others. It is counterintuitive to say labor exists
only when others value the thing produced. It
also would be counter to Locke's example of
the individual laboring and appropriating
goods for himself alone. The "labor-desert"
theory asserts that labor often creates social
value, and it is this production of social value
that "deserves" reward, not the labor that
The legal history of intellectual property
contains many allusions to the value-added
theory. The legislative histories of intellectual
property statutes refer repeatedly to the value
added to society by investors, writers, and
artists. Indeed those judicial or legislative
statements that appear to fuse the normative
and instrumental propositions of the labor
justification are perhaps based, unknowingly,
on the value-added theory. In Mazer v. Stein
n68 the Court appeared to be saying that the
enhancement of the public good through the
efforts of intellectual laborers made the
creators of intellectual property worthy of
reward. n69 In other words, their contribution
to the public good justified the reward of
property rights. Earlier I noted that the
Constitution's copyright and patent clause is
an instrumental provision. More precisely, it is
an instrumentalist provision aimed at
rewarding people who bring added value to
the society. Little else could have been meant
by giving people "the exclusive Right to their respective Writing and Discoveries" in order
"[t]o promote the Progress of Science and
useful arts." n70
The value-added theory usually is
consequentialist [*306] argument that people
will add value to the common if some of the
added value accrues to them personally.
Paralleling the discussion of the avoidance
theory of labor, it is possible also to treat the
proposition: people should be rewarded for
how much value they add to other people's
lives, regardless of whether they are motivated
by such rewards.
Some kinds of intellectual property have
appeared only in contexts in which the
property represents a value added to the
society. International News Service v. Associated
n71 inaugurated "quasi-property"
protection for gathered information.
opinion merged unfair competition doctrine
and property arguments to prohibit one party's
appropriation of the product of another party's
n72 Such appropriations occur only
when the party taking the product believes it
to have some value. To state the proposition
differently, one could not argue that it is unfair
competition to take away someone's worthless
Unfair competition is the purloining of
another's competitive edge -- an "edge" that
has social value. Insofar as protection of
gathered information rests on an unfair
competition model, it necessarily relies on the
value-added justification. If the fruits of labor
have no prospective value, stealing those fruits
may be socially unkind, but not competitively
unfair. Similarly, trade secret infringement
cases result from claimed losses of social value
by the petitioner. No court has ever had to Page 13
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * face a test case of a vigorously defended but
worthless trade secret.
There is a very simple reason why the legal
doctrines of unfair competition and trade
secret protection are inherently oriented
toward the value-added theory: they are courtcreated doctrines and people rarely go to court
unless something valuable is at stake. When
intellectual property is created more
systematically, such as through legislation, the
resulting property doctrines seem less
singularly oriented toward rewarding social
Indeed, patents provide a vexing example
of conflicting reliance on the value-added
theory. To receive patent protection, a new
invention must meet a standard of "usefulness"
or "utility," n73 a criterion which suggests
that the invention must manifest some value
added to society. On closer inspection, the
meaning of this criterion is not so clear. At one
extreme, it has been expressed as being devoid
of a "value-added" requirement and as only
mandating that the invention not be, on its
face, wholly valueless. In Lowell v. Lewis n74
Justice Story eloquently expressed this
[*307] All that the law requires is, that the
invention should not be frivolous or injurious
to the well-being, good policy, or sound morals
of society. The word "useful", therefore, is
incorporated into the act in contradistinction to
mischievous or immoral. . . . But if the
invention steers wide of these objections,
whether it be more or less useful is a
circumstance very material to the interests of
the patentee, but of no importance to the
public. If it be not extensively useful, it will
silently sink into contempt and disregard. n75
While this standard was incorporated into
patent jurisprudence, n76 modern tests for the utility
criterion support a value-added interpretation.
n77 Most courts now hold that a "step
forward" n78 or an "advance over prior art"
n79 is a critical part of the utility requirement.
But these tests seem to blur the utility criterion
with the "novelty," "obviousness," and
"operability" requirements of patent grants.
It is not necessary to separate these modern
standards in order to appreciate how they
generally bear on the value-added question.
Stated succinctly, they require that an
invention be enough of an advance over the
previous art so that the average person
schooled in the art would not consider the
advance immediately obvious, but also would
understand how the invention improves upon
previously available technology.
invention need not function perfectly, but it
must operate effectively enough that a person
schooled in the art could make it perform the
tasks described in the patent application. n81
To require that something be an "advance"
over existing technology clearly demands that
there be new value in this item; that the
invention be "nonobvious" raises the threshold
of the additional value requirement. Obvious
improvements add some value to existing art,
but it is only modest value because anyone
trained in the art can see the improvement
almost as a matter of intuition. The patent law
requires that the new value be greater than
that derived from "tinkering" with known
Those standards seem conclusively to
manifest a value-added requirement. There
[*308] are, however, some complexities. In
discussing the operability criteria, Peter
Rosenberg aptly describes a well-accepted
patent doctrine which seems to pose a strong Page 14
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * counterargument
requirement: to the value-added To satisfy the operability standard, an
inventor need not establish that his invention
is better than, or that it is even as good as,
existing means for accomplishing the same
result. . . . [T]he law does not ask how useful is
the invention. A device that may not operate
well may nevertheless be operative. n83
An invention that is not as effective or
efficient as the existing means for
accomplishing the same result does not add
value to society -- at least not in a direct and
n84 Nonetheless, the
patent law covers such inventions.
example, one could patent an advance in
vacuum tube computers although it is hard to
imagine a technology so completely replaced
by its successor.
Usually a succeeding
technology leaves the older technology with
peripheral or special area applications, but
chip technologies have replaced vacuum tubes
so thoroughly in computer applications that
any value added by a vacuum tube advance
would be minimal or nonexistent.
Similarly, patent scholars have not agreed
with the presumed patentability of items that
are technological "advances" without any
imaginable value. A good hypothetical is a new
vote counting machine which errs by up to ten
percent in any vote tabulation. Not only is this
worse than existing technology, but its
operation has absolutely no value. People will
count votes by hand before they will entrust it
to a machine erring ten percent. If this kind of
"operable" machine is not patentable, it is
evidence of the value-added justification. If it
is patentable, that patent clearly is granted
without any consideration of added value.
n85 A patentee is not required to exploit his
patent; indeed, there is universal recognition
that the patentee may shelve his invention and
use his patent only to prevent others from
utilizing the patented process or invention.
n86 This hardly seems to mesh with the
requirement that there be value delivered to
the society as a prerequisite for granting
Copyright law also seems to defy valueadded reasoning. As with patents, one can
register a writing for copyright protection
without ever planning to [*309] publish the
n87 For copyrighted works, no
statutory provision demands "value." Indeed,
thousands of worthless works are probably
copyrighted every month. Bad poetry, box
office failures, and redundant scholarly articles
are not denied copyright protection because
they are worthless or, arguably, a net loss to
The interesting issue of proportional
contributions further evinces the degree to
which the value-added justification underpins
intellectual property law. Modern industry
depends on equipment and machines utilizing
multiple patents to carry out a single activity.
Through patent-licensing schemes, patent
owners share proportionally in the aggregate
value of the intellectual property in such
However, the same ability to
distribute value has eluded the copyright
A modest copyright apportionment
doctrine was established in Sheldon v. MetroGoldwyn Pictures. n88 In Sheldon, both Judge
Hand and Justice Hughes upheld the
apportionment of only twenty percent of the
profits to the plaintiff when the defendant's
infringing film used only a small part of the
plaintiff's play and expert testimony attributed Page 15
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * the movie's success to its popular stars, not the
script. n89 But even while making the award,
Hand wrote of apportionment that, "[s]trictly
and literally, it is true that the problem is
insoluble." n90 The common wisdom, with
some scholarly debate, n91 has been to follow
the Sheldon dictum instead of attempting its
That the apportionment system has
appeared as an ideal in copyright is homage to
people's belief in the value-added theory as a
normative standard: social value contributed
should be rewarded.
The fact that an
apportionment system in copyright has
remained only an ideal is explicable for several
Certainly apportionment could
produce uncertain shifts in incentives. It might
encourage infringements and discourage
originality by lowering the awards against
On the other hand, it might
strengthen enforcement by tempting judges to
find infringements more often. n92
Apportionment may remain
impractical in copyright for the same reason it
would be impractical to have any value-added
requirement in copyright law. The "insoluble"
problem for apportionment is measuring the
value of a copyrighted work when it forms
part of a larger work whose value can be
measured by objective criteria, such as box
office receipts or number of copies sold. The
corresponding problem for a preliminary value
requirement in copyright is that it is much
harder to predict whether a writing will have
value than to do so for an invention. It is often
startling to see what copyrighted works are
ultimately judged valuable by society. Before
the precocious judgment of history, a "step
forward" in literature or in the arts is easily
confused with a step sideways or backwards. A value-added interpretation of intellectual
property laws is easier to support by moving
away from particular legal doctrines. Probably
the best support for the value-added theory is
an argument based upon "net gain." This ruleutilitarian argument for granting intellectual
property rights finds it unnecessary that
individual cases of copyright or patents be of
social value. A very high percentage of
protected works could be worthless so long as
the system of property protection results in a
net increase in social value beyond what
would be produced without the system.
Distinction and the Idea/Expression The
interpretations of the labor theory have very
different foci. The avoidance theory argues
that labor, by its nature, is unpleasant. The
value-added theory places no limits on the
general nature of labor; it can be pleasant or
unpleasant, stupefying or invigorating. The
value-added theory may explain why labor
justifies property at the social level, while the
avoidance theory makes the individual feel
justified in receiving something for his "pains."
But this still leaves unresolved the nettlesome
question of whether or not producing
intellectual property actually requires labor.
For the moment, let us treat the creation of
a finished intellectual product as a two-step
process. One step is thinking up the "idea,"
used here in the usual sense of the creative
element or unique notion. The second step is
the work necessary to employ the idea as the
core of a finished product. In the case of an
innovative suspension bridge, the engineer has
an original idea and then spends months doing
all the drawings and calculations necessary to
produce the finished plans. Edison had the
idea of a light source produced by electrons Page 16
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * travelling through a filament within a vacuum.
He and his workers then spent weeks finding
the proper filament material, the proper
vacuum, and the proper electrical charge. n93
[*311] These two steps represent the
difference between idea and execution.
Sometimes this difference is not readily visible
or, when it does exist, the part we identify as
the idea may seem the less important of the
two components. Sartoris n94 and Absalom,
Absalom! n95 have the "same" idea: the not too
original notion of the saga of a Southern
family. The difference, the uniqueness, and
the importance to society is in the execution.
The idea of orchestrating Pictures at an
Exhibition, Moussorgsky's 1874 composition for
solo piano, is not worth much in itself, nor is
the thought of doing a painting of the front of
the Rouen Cathedral basked in sunlight. But
each idea has proved to be a foundation for
more than one significant execution.
In these examples the distinction between
idea and execution is drawn at a gross level.
Although the distinction may seem intuitively
right, it can be blurred and redrawn by
focusing on different levels of detail. There is
not just the idea of orchestrating a piano piece,
but the more detailed idea of using a particular
motif in the third movement, and the even
more detailed idea of using a particular
percussion instrument in the forty-seventh
stanza of that movement. The achievement in
writing fiction or in composing may be in the
execution precisely because each turn of
phrase, musical or literally, is the result of a
The creativity we perceive in an intellectual
product may be either in the core idea or in the
core idea's execution. I suggest that when we
readily can separate the two, execution always
seems to involve labor, but it is not always clear that the creation of the idea involves
labor. Ideas often seem to arrive like Athena -suddenly they are here, full and complete.
Like Zeus, we may have a headache in the
process, but it is some unseen Minerva who
puts in the labor.
Yet our inability to formulate any clear
separation between idea and execution
suggests that we should treat them as one.
This apparent inability is reinforced by
occasions in which the "execution" step begins
before the idea. n96 In many fields, one has to
do extensive research to create a necessary
launching pad for a new idea. A graduate law
student writing his doctoral paper made the
telling comment, "If I had six more months to
work on this paper, it would be an original
The Lockean conception of idea-making
provides another ground for [*312] treating
idea and execution as a single event. Viewing
new ideas as plucked from some platonic
common may be reification in the extreme. Yet
in that view, the ideas already exist and the
chief labor is transporting them from the
ethereal reaches of the idea world to the real
world where humanity can use them. n98 If
ideas are thought of as such preexistent
platonic forms, the only activity possible is
execution, which consists of transporting,
translating, and communicating the idea into a
form and a location in which humans have
access to it.
Existing intellectual property regimes favor
granting property rights only to those ideas
which have received substantial execution.
Patents are not granted for formulae
disembodied from any technical applications;
in some sense, such unapplied formulae may
be thought of as unexecuted ideas. A book or
dissertation receives copyright protection, not Page 17
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * its underlying thesis statement. One might
even point to the fact that federal copyright
protection applies only to work put into some
permanent, tangible form
n99 -- which
suggests a requirement of execution.
With products such as phone directories or
some news stories, execution -- a product of
labor -- is all that realistically can be required
because there is no original idea. Time, Inc. v.
Bernard Geis Associates,
n100 in which the
Zapruder film of the Kennedy assassination
was recognized as copyrightable property,
provides an interesting application of this
same standard. n101 Clearly, Zapruder had
no original idea -- most people in his position
and equipped with a camera would have
filmed that tragic event. Zapruder's case is a
dramatic example of copyright protection in
the category of nonartistic photos and films of
public events and places. It demonstrates that
a unique product of one's labor can receive
property protection even if there is no unique
The case law of section 102 of the 1976
Copyright Act n102 has developed what has
been called "the idea/expression dichotomy."
n103 Under this doctrine, "expressions" are
protected but the underlying "ideas" are not.
n104 Not [*313] surprisingly, the courts have
never developed a clear distinction between
the two, relying instead on comparisons such
as between the idea of a male nude and the
expression of The David.
n105 When one
replicates a series of scenes a faire
make a story, there is no copyright problem;
n107 when one reproduces sets and production
techniques, there is. Illicit copying is copying
an expression, "the total concept and feel" of a
work, n108 not just the idea.
frequently explained in terms of balancing the need to reward artists with the need for free
access to ideas, or as a tension between the
copyright clause and the first amendment.
Although this theory has never been explicitly
considered by the Supreme Court, Justice
Douglas was one of its adherents. n109 In a
1980 opinion, the Ninth Circuit also
confidently stated this rationale: "[T]he impact,
if any, of the first amendment on copyright has
not been discussed by the Court. We believe
this silence stems not from neglect but from the
fact that the idea-expression dichotomy
already serves to accommodate the competing
interests of copyright and the first
amendment." n110 While not abandoning this
view, Professor Melville Nimmer showed that
idea/expression distinction does not ensure
access to all the expressions we might want
freely available from a first amendment
perspective. n111 In a society which relies on
freedom of expression, there is a constant
demand that many "expressions" be part of the
public domain, such as photographs and films
of [*314] very important events. n112
I suggest that the idea/expression
dichotomy and the idea/execution dichotomy
are the same. n113 At a minimum, the force
behind the latter dichotomy -- the concern for
labor -- significantly contributes to explaining
the idea/expression division. The courts' ad
hoc approach in this area suggests that
copyrightability may be based as much on
what we feel are people's deserts as on what
we feel are society's informational needs. It
has been said that the idea/expression issue is
uniquely well-suited for juries. n114 I suggest
that this is so not because juries care about a
doctrine that ameliorates copyright and first
amendment tensions and not because they
know what idea-making is, but rather because
jurors sense what labor is. Page 18
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * First amendment considerations define the
"idea" side of the copyright dichotomy -- that
which must be kept as a public preserve.
Labor defines the "expression" side -- that
which must be rewarded because it is
unpleasant activity. Protection of expression
and not of ideas can be understood as
protection for that part of the idea-making
process that we are most confident involves
In a world in which we cannot
definitely separate idea and execution, we still
find ways to emphasize that property
protection goes to execution and less to the
In fact, these first amendment concerns
have a place in a Lockean theory. In a Lockean
manifests a problem with the "common."
Stated simply, some ideas and facts cannot be
removed from the common because there
would not be the slightest chance of there
being "enough and as good" afterwards.
Imagine the absurdity of a political debate in
which some people held copyrights over
certain "new ideas." This leads to the second
element of a Lockean theory of intellectual
property: the common.
[*315] C. IDEAS AND THE COMMON
It requires some leap of faith to say that
ideas come from a "common" in the Lockean
sense of the word. Yet it does not take an
unrehabilitated Platonist to think that the "field
of ideas" bears a great similarity to a common.
The differences between ideas and physical
property have been repeated often. Physical
property can be used at any one time by only
one person or one coordinated group of
people. Ideas can be used simultaneously by
everyone. Furthermore, people cannot be
excluded from ideas in the way that they can
be excluded from physical property. You may prevent someone from publicly using an idea,
but preventing the private use of ideas may
not be possible. These two basic differences
between ideas and physical goods have been
used by some writers to argue against
intellectual property, n115 but, if anything,
they suggest that ideas fit Locke's notion of a
"common" better than does physical property.
The "field" of all possible ideas prior to the
formation of property rights is more similar to
Locke's common than is the unclaimed
wilderness. Locke's common had enough
goods of similar quality that one person's
extraction from it did not prevent the next
person from extracting something of the same
quality and quantity. The common did not
need to be infinite; it only needed to be
practically inexhaustible. With physical goods,
the inexhaustibility condition requires a huge
With ideas, the inexhaustibility
condition is easily satisfied; each idea can be
used by an unlimited number of individuals.
One person's use of some ideas (prior to
intellectual property schemes) cannot deplete
the common in any sense. Indeed, the field of
ideas seems to expand with use.
It may seem pointless to talk about how the
field of possible ideas fulfills Locke's
conception of the common prior to the creation
of property, for the common is a concept
discussed only in connection with the creation
The point is that Locke's
treatment of the common implicitly concerns
itself with the problems of distribution. This
distribution problem also arises in preproperty uses of the physical common. When
some starve in a pre-property world because
others overconsume food or occupy all the
tillable land, there is a problem of just
distribution. Such distribution problems are
not found in pre-property uses of the field of
ideas. Page 19
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * 1. The Common and Tempered Property
How the creation of property affects
distribution of the common depends on the
extent of exclusion entailed in property rights.
Existing forms of intellectual [*316] property
do not countenance complete exclusion of the
Nor can one easily imagine
systems of intellectual property that could
This complete exclusion is impossible for
two reasons. First, any property scheme which
completely excludes third parties from ideas
must enforce its restrictions in ways
incompatible with our notions of privacy and
policing of such exclusion probably would be
impossible. This impossibility can be thought
of in either technical or economic terms. For
the foreseeable future, practical considerations
will limit the ways in which people can be
excluded from intellectual goods. By any
standard, thought-police would look more like
Keystone Kops than like the KGB. Such
thought policing would certainly not be cost
effective. Historically, the only time the cost
effectiveness of policing has not been a
controlling factor is when the police enforce
the claims of the sovereign and not the claims
of individuals. Police states guard the interests
of the state, not those of persons.
As long as complete exclusion cannot or
does not happen, ideas will be available to
people in their own thoughts even though
these ideas already have become someone
else's property. Through this availability, one
idea can lead to still more ideas. In other
words, once a "new" idea has been put into
intellectual commerce, once people know
about it, it leads to an "expansion" of the
common, or of the accessible common. n116 New idea X may be the key to a whole new
range of ideas which would not have been
thought of without X. Assuming the Platonic
model, putting X into intellectual commerce
does not increase the common so much as it
enhances the abilities of people to take from
the common; it gives people longer arms to
reach the ideas on higher branches. In this
view, X just makes new ideas Y and Z more
easily discovered by a wider range of people.
When the range of people and/or ease of
discovery is dramatically improved, one can
think of the common as being practically
Computer languages provide a good
example of a case in which one contribution to
the society makes other contributions possible.
Embarking on an [*317] effort to create a new
language is a considerably more ambitious and
difficult project than writing programs in an
existing language. It is not something most
computer scientists would undertake. In that
sense, it is more a unique idea than is a new
program in an existing language. This new
language may stimulate programming in a
way that would not have been possible but for
the language. Furthermore, this new language
creates an incentive to write these programs.
Thus, it is an addition to the "common" which
gives many people new ability to create even
more property and expand the common even
Finally, idea X may be genuinely necessary
to new idea Y. Orchestrations and adaptions
are examples of this. The movie Cabaret was
adapted from the musical Cabaret which was
adapted from Isherwood's Berlin Diaries.
Parodies provide an even better example of
such necessity. The Mona Lisa, American Gothic,
Whistler's Mother, and Hemingway's prose all
have inspired generations of parodies -cultural objects which would have neither Page 20
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * humor nor sense without the object of comic
The original is necessary as a
preexisting part of the culture.
Robert Nozick has argued that a system of
physical appropriation benefits society in a
manner analogous to this expansion in the
world of ideas. n118 Yet there is an important
difference between the expansion of the
physical common and of the idea common.
According to Locke, the act by which physical
object X is transformed into property is an act
that creates new social value. This added
value, however, goes directly into that
property owner's possession. At least this
characterization applies to Locke's example of
cultivated land and the added grain it
produces. n119 This new physical value -grain -- adds to the commonweal only if the
owner releases it, either through gifts or
commerce. Locke relies upon the money
economy to facilitate this.
Intellectual property systems release the
added value of a new idea without requiring
the property owner's active and intentional
introduction of the idea into commerce. Take
the situation in which Mr. Smith creates idea X
and this idea makes possible ideas Y and Z.
Ideas Y and Z are not possessed by Mr. Smith
in the same way the grain is possessed by the
farmer. Sequel ideas are not "attached" to their
antecedent ideas as grain is attached to
farmland. As long as idea X is known to other
people, it can inspire ideas Y and Z.
New ideas, however, can be "attached" to
idea X in the sense that they seem too
derivative of X to be granted their own
property status. Mr. Smith, the owner of idea
X, may claim that Mr. Jones, the author of Y,
not create anything
independent and different from X. The claim here is that Mr. Jones has not added much
value (or much labor) beyond idea X.
Intellectual property systems handle this
situation of questionable added labor with a
few general principles. First, if the idea is
sufficiently separate from its "parent" idea to
have required significant independent labor or
creativity, it belongs to the laborer.
Conversely, if the new idea bears too much
resemblance to its parent idea, the owner of the
parent has a controlling interest in the new
idea. Finally, the two principles are limited by
situations in which the descendant idea
includes the entire parent idea, as with a new
machine which uses a patented process as one
of several steps or a play which uses someone's
concerto as its theme. In these cases, the
owner's interests in the parent idea must be
accommodated with much less balancing than
that afforded by the first two principles. n121
The law regarding parodies exemplifies the
balance struck between the first two principles.
A copyright does not enable its holder to
prevent parodies of the copyrighted work; as
long as the parody has creativity and
originality, it may use substantial elements of
n122 However, if reasonable
people would easily mistake the parody for the
original, the copyright holder would have an
especially strong interest in stopping
publication of the parody because it will
probably appear to be a bad or erroneous
production of the original. n123 The creator of
such a parody, because of its resemblance to
the original and the little labor employed in
making the parody, would possess [*319] a
lesser interest in his product. Under such
balancing, the recognition of property rights in
idea X still permits, indeed inspires, others to
reach new ideas Y and Z. Page 21
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * Because creating property rights in an idea
never completely excludes others from using
idea, it need not be justified by Locke's
legerdemain that increases in privately
produced goods necessarily benefit the
commonweal. Nor does it require justification
from Nozick's reconstitution of "the Lockean
proviso." n124 Under Nozick's reconstruction,
the public would be better off even if an
intellectual property owner could completely
exclude others from his idea because it could
still buy the goods and services developed
from that idea. n125 This might be true, but
intellectual property need not be justified on
such a thin reed. People are better off today
because there are more ideas available to them,
at least in part, that provide springboards to
generate even more intellectual property. New
ideas, even most that become private property,
benefit the commonweal by immediately being
known and, in some sense, available to all.
There is no need to rely on property holders to
actively introduce them into the common.
2. The Common and Ideas That Cannot Be
Granted Property Status
Intellectual property systems also are more
suitable for a Lockean justification than are
physical property systems because a growing
set of central ideas are never permitted to
become private property and are held in a
n126 By preventing
private control of these particular ideas,
intellectual property law resolves a major
inequity often present in physical property
Even in a vast wilderness, an
individual should not be permitted to claim
certain physical goods as property because
their extraction from the common will not
leave "as good and as many" for the remaining
individuals. The "New World" prior to its
colonization may have been as close to a
Lockean common as human history records, yet it is easy to make a list of things which the
society could not allow to be appropriated as
private property: the Amazon, St. Lawrence,
and Ohio Rivers, the Cumberland Pass, or the
St. George's Bank fisheries.
Earlier I described two broad categories of
ideas to which ascription of private ownership
is denied. The first is the category of common,
"everyday" [*320] ideas, such as thinking to
wash one's car, to add paprika to a quiche for
coloring, or to tell mystery stories to your cub
scout troop. The second is the category of
extraordinary ideas like the Pythagorean
theorem, the heliocentric theory of the solar
system, or the cylindrical column in
One reason that we do not permit property
rights in either category of ideas may be that
doing so would involve tremendous
reallocations of wealth toward the property
holders of these ideas. If we had to pay a
royalty each time we told a ghost story or
walked the dog, unprecedented wealth would
concentrate in the hands of those "holding" the
most common ideas.
everyday ideas are too generically useful to
allow someone to monopolize them. The
common would not have "enough and as
good" if they were removed.
The same is true of extraordinary ideas.
This category, however, actually contains two
distinct groups of ideas. First, there are ideas
that are extraordinarily important because they
disclose facts about the world, such as the
Pythagorean theorem and the theory of
electromagnetism, the Supreme Court ruled
that Samuel Morse could not monopolize the
general idea of using galvanic current for longdistance communications, although he could Page 22
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * monopolize his particular
exploiting the idea. n127 process for A second group of extraordinary ideas -which contains ideas like the architectural
columns -- may not be monopolized because of
their widespread public use. At first, this
sounds like a poor argument: that the idea of a
column is widely used may mean it is a "public
idea," but that is hardly a self-evident reason
why it must be public. Yet widespread use of
something, like columns and vaulted ceilings,
has another effect: it makes a particular idea
appear to be a basic truth or process. At some
point, one hardly can imagine the larger social
organization without the lesser object.
Columns would appear as a far less basic truth
to cave dwellers than to those who inhabit a
post-Hellenic world in which columns prevent
our buildings from crumbling into impromptu
"depropertized." Originally, they could have
been subject to private ownership (unlike the
first kind of extraordinary ideas), but the
pressure to keep them in the common
increases as the ideas become increasingly
important to the society. As an idea becomes
extraordinary, it is clear the common will not
have "enough and as good" if the rights to the
idea continue to be privately held.
Law itself provides an interesting example.
Saul Levmore has adroitly observed that "the
law does not normally offer intellectual
property rights to
develop novel arguments and establish
precedents." n128 Perhaps legal arguments
could be fit within either of the two
subcategories of extraordinary ideas. In one
view, arguments adopted by a court become
valuable (as precedent) precisely because the
court believes that argument is a basic truth about the legal system or the world. For the
legal realist who sees no truths, the novel
argument still can become (like architectural
columns) a necessary fixture in the social
edifice. In fact, that is the basis for Benjamin
Kaplan's criticism of Continental Casualty v.
n129 a 1958 case upholding the
copyright on certain insurance forms. n130
Without reaching the broader issue of ideas
beyond privatization, Kaplan observed that,
"[t]he effect of the decision may be to force
users to awkward and possibly dangerous
recasting of the legal language to avoid
infringement actions." n131 Kaplan's criticism
is basically that the language in those forms
had become necessary to the legal system and
therefore should be beyond privatization.
Ideas which can be privatized fall between
these extremes of common and extraordinary
ideas. A new device to wash cars may be
patentable; a quiche recipe with secret herbs
and spices can be privatized as a trade secret;
the original mystery story can be transferred
from campfire to copyrighted novella. Even
things which are related to extraordinary ideas
may be privatized. While neither Leibniz nor
Newton could copyright the calculus under
today's copyright laws, each probably could
copyright his own system of notation for
calculus. n133 The idea of a science fiction
"space empires-at-war" story cannot be
copyrighted, but when Battlestar Gallactica is
too much like Star Wars, the owner of Star Wars
can drag the Galacticans into court with a
credible claim of property infringement. n134
The Supreme Court has struggled with
perhaps the most basic dilemma of this sort:
When can an algorithm [*322] be made into
property? n135 Its present doctrine is that an
algorithm closely linked to a specific
technological application may qualify for Page 23
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * patent protection.
n136 This provides an
example of a specific application (the
technology) being used to bring the general
idea (the algorithm) into the field of
protectable ideas. like a penalty if we view the situation as the
owner lulling the society into a dependency on
a privately owned word. When the society
realizes that dependence it should place the
word in the permanent common. What separates the everyday idea from the
protectable idea is the former's relative
unimportance and the latter's uniqueness;
what separates the protectable idea from the
extraordinary idea is that the extraordinary
idea is uniquely important. One rule of thumb
is that the more generally required by society
an idea is, the more important and less subject
to propertization it becomes. n137 However,
very detailed ideas or pieces of information
also may be beyond privatization because
monopolistic control of them would harm
For example, in the eighteenth
century, copyright over a navigation map was
held not to preclude someone from copying its
n138 In eighteenthcentury navigation, these details provided the
only safe way to proceed. There would not be
"enough and as good" without free access to
these details. 3. Augmenting the Common Through
Expiration of Property Rights With ideas that become extraordinary,
society's increasing dependency on them
creates a pressure to remove them from private
control. For example, a popular trademark
that comes to serve a unique representational
function loses some of its property protection
under the doctrine of genericness.
Examples of trademarks which have or may
have lost their property status because the
words are so generally relied upon for
"cellophane," "aspirin," and "xerox." n140 At
least one commentator has remarked that this
can be an unfair penalty on one "who has
made skillful use of advertising and has
popularized his product." n141 Perhaps the
[*323] loss of a trademark would seem less For those trademarks which have become
generic words, their "condemnation" is a
method of de-privatizing ideas.
intellectual property regimes augment the idea
common in another way: they require all idea
property to return to the common
automatically at some point. Copyrighted
property enters the public domain fifty years
after the death of the author. n142 Patents
expire after a maximum of thirty-four years.
information, and the shadowy existence of its
quasi-property status dissipates. n144 Trade
secrets may be the lone exception; they must
be constantly defended, not only against real
industrial espionage but as a legal requirement
to maintain their protection. Trade secrets and
"gathered information" property have no fixed
expiration, but they tend to be selfextinguishing. At some point, the guard drops
and the trade secret expires. This general
occurrence of expiration marks a radical
I find it helpful to think of two commons: a
"common of ideas" and a "common of potential
ideas." Perhaps progress is an inexorable
movement of the former gobbling up more and
more of the latter.
When an individual
augments the common of ideas, we recognize a
Yet at some point an
individual's addition to the common of ideas
appears to be part of the historic migration of
ideas from the potential common to the actual Page 24
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * common.
n145 At that point, the property
Robert Nozick hints at this point in his
example of the scientist who stumbles upon a
Nozick argues that this
scientist does not deprive anyone of the
substance by privatizing it and excluding
others from its use. While this is certainly true
at the moment of discovery, Nozick recognizes
[*324] that limitations on the discoverer's
rights may be justified later because, "as time
passes, the likelihood increases that others
would have come across the substance." n146
Nozick uses this reasoning to justify
limitations on the bequest and inheritance of
n147 Expiration times in
intellectual property regimes also seem
inspired by this idea. n148
Expiration ensures that most ideas
eventually reside in the common unfettered in
any way. This new wealth cannot be retaken
and privatized by someone else; it is material
which will be held permanently in common.
This new material will lead to new ideas, hence
new property for as yet unidentified people.
This condition is sufficient to show
"enrichment" of the common even in those rare
instances in which the public might be
successfully and totally excluded from an idea
during its period as privately held property. If
the owners of new ideas could exclude
everyone from the idea, social progress would
be slow, but as long as those new ideas
eventually become freely available, idea-based
progress would continue.
The expiration of intellectual property
rights may help a Lockean scheme of
intellectual property overcome one general
objection to Locke's theory. This objection is
that Locke's vision of property rights justifies
property for one generation, but cannot justify the subsequent property arrangements of
Hillel Steiner has
expressed one form of this attack:
Consider, first, Locke's construction of
individuals' original rights. The claim that for
a limited (early) historical period each person
was entitled to appropriate a quantitatively
similar collection of natural resources is open
to the unanswerable objection -- noted by
Nozick -- that a right of historically limited
validity and, thus, of less than universal
incidence, cannot be constituted by any set of
moral rules that extend the same kinds of
rights to all persons.
The titles thereby
established can preclude historically later
persons from exercising the same kind of right.
Hence the set of rights constituted by Locke's
rule fails the test of coherence. . . . n149
Nozick particularly addresses this problem
with his discussion of the "Lockean proviso."
Nozick has deftly interpreted Locke's
condition that there must be "enough and as
good left in common for others" as a principle
meant "to ensure that the situation of others is
not worsened" by the appropriations of
property from the common. n150 Nozick says
that Locke would justify privatization of things
"appropriation [*325] of an unowned object
worsens the situation of others."
Assuming that acts of propertization do
produce inequalities, Nozick's reformulation of
Locke's "enough and as good" provision holds
that inequalities of this sort always should be
tolerated so long as they do not make the
worse-off more badly off.
To use the
economist's jargon, Nozick is adopting the
principle of Pareto optimality. n152 Whether
or not this reformation is successful, both
Locke and Nozick have used the original
acceptability of initial property rights to lead to Page 25
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * the acceptability of property
succeeding generations. rights for Intellectual property systems avoid these
shoals. As long as there is an ever-growing
common of ideas available for everyone's
unlimited use, every person has at least as
much opportunity to appropriate ideas as had
the first man in the wilderness. There is an
equilibrium between those ideas being
removed from the common through
privatization and those ideas that society relies
heavily upon. What results is akin to John
generations. Rawls argues that a fixed rate of
savings between generations allows each
generation to reap the same rewards and make
the same investment in the future. n153 This
effectively happens with intellectual property.
The common of ideas grows like investment in
an idea bank.
D. THE NON-WASTE CONDITION AND
Historians treat Locke's condition of nonwaste as an ugly step-sister of the enough and
as good condition -- maligned, not for its own
infirmity, but for how quickly Locke abandons
it in his adoption of a money economy. n154
Nozick offers a criticism from another side:
true application of Locke's "enough and as
good" provision makes the non-waste
n155 This criticism
attacks the place of the non-waste condition in
Locke's theory, not the condition itself.
Without entering this fray, I suggest that many
systems of intellectual property neither
embody nor require a non-waste condition.
1. Intellectual Property and the Money
A "pure" Lockean account might dismiss
the applicability of the non-waste condition on
the grounds that intellectual property exists only in societies which have transcended the
n156 It is possible, however, to
imagine [*326] intellectual property existing
before the creation of a money society.
Certainly the subjects of intellectual property
exist in primitive states: the corkscrew method
of raising water from the Nile, the varied
means of tanning hides, or original straw
weaving patterns. When the originator of one
of these ideas shared it with others, he gave
some value to the others by allowing them to
remove property from the common with less
This can produce paradoxical results
depending on our understanding of Locke's
theory of private property. For example, if
what separates private property from the
common is labor, then sharing a labor-saving
idea with a friend actually may rob my friend
of her Lockean title to those goods she extracts
with my idea. This is especially true if more
labor makes one's property claims stronger.
My friend is, after all, laboring less for the
thing she gets. A related question is whether
use of the idea by another is equivalent to
additional labor by its originator. If so, when a
friend uses my idea to draw water from the
Nile, it would be as if the friend and I drew the
water together. Would we, therefore, have
some type of joint title to the water?
There is a powerful argument that ideas
cannot be subjects of Lockean property rights
in the pre-money state. If so, this sharply
distinguishes ideas from physical objects. In
the state of nature, people take what they need
for survival. Those who fail to appropriate
enough perish. In this situation, giving a
friend my labor-saving idea would likely
produce one of two results: either it preserves
her life when otherwise she would have
perished for insufficient labor to appropriate Page 26
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * enough or it allows her to accumulate
surpluses with which to barter. n157
The first possibility, that the idea preserves
her life, runs counter to Locke's assumptions.
If a person of average physical capability
requires the idea to take enough from the
common to survive there is something wrong
either with the common or with human
capacities. Before we even reach the question
of "enough and as good," the common is not
The simplest cure is to say that the idea is
part of the common -- as something everyone
needs to take the common's physical things -or that the idea is part of human capacities -an idea all humans should possess in the same
way they would possess the idea of using their
arms to climb trees. Either way, the idea could
not be the subject of propertization. I prefer to
view certain ideas as things Locke would
consider basic to human capacities. These
might include, for example, the use of simple
tools -- the club, the [*327] knife, the rope, and
clothing. n158 This would seem to fit Locke's
description of the state of nature in which men
do certain activities that entail the use of
On the other hand, if the idea I give my
friend allows her to accumulate a surplus for
bartering, this idea exists in or begins the
money economy. The idea can be treated as
intellectual property precisely because it
produces surplus value which can be traded.
2. The Non-Waste of Intellectual Property.
Locke presents his non-waste condition
most directly in the example of food spoilage,
and this particular form of loss powerfully
demonstrates the appeal of the non-waste
condition. The waste of food is an absolute
loss. Arguably, the moral force of the non- waste condition dissipates in a world in which
all have enough or more than enough to meet
This is the jist of Nozick's
argument that Locke does not need the nonwaste condition so long as he employs the
"enough and as good" condition. n160
But spoiled food can be viewed as waste in
either of two ways: food that spoils is available
neither for the present potential use of those
who do not own the food nor for the future
potential use of its owner. There is waste in
others needing something that is not being
used, and in consumption of the individual's
labor without bringing any benefit to the
individual. The first is waste in a social
context; the second is waste for the individual
Nozick's argument addresses only the
former, and completely misses the latter. For
although no one may need the food that spoils
in the pre-economic state of natural bounty,
the individual's labor that was used to produce
and appropriate the spoiled food nevertheless
has been "wasted" -- it [*328] was used
without creating any present or future value to
society or to himself.
In the realm of
intellectual property, there are interesting
differences between these two versions of
waste. Unlike food, ideas are not perishable:
they almost always retain future value. From
an individual's perspective, it is much harder
to say at a point in time, T, that the
individual's investment in some idea is wasted.
The investment may yield value at a later T.
Of course, one can claim that intellectual goods
actually are perishable: ideas go stale, new
stories become "old," literature becomes dated,
and patents become worthless as the
technology on which they are based becomes
obsolete. These are examples of good ideas
being introduced into society too late to yield
maximum return. Page 27
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * Yet the value lost by hoarding an idea until
it becomes obsolete is a very different kind of
loss than food spoilage. There is no internal
deterioration in the idea and the loss in value
is seen only against a social backdrop. The loss
is speculative and may be reversible. Future
trends may make the outdated idea
fashionable again. Even with technologybased intellectual property -- the property
most prone to an objectively measurable loss in
value -- there may be a recovery of value. For
example, new technical improvements in
equestrian equipment and train engines can
still be very profitable despite the appearance
of automobiles and Boeing 757s.
While the social value of an idea may
decline below an optimal point, the value of
the idea, apart from its value to society, may
remain constant. An unpublished story may
still give an author joy when shared with
intimates. The secret recipe for Kentucky Fried
Chicken will taste as good to the creator
whether or not it is shared with Madison
Avenue. With intellectual property, there is no
waste to the individual because the act of
"consumption" is inseparable from the act of
production. Intellectual property holds value
derived solely from the act of creation.
manifestations of a non-waste condition are
few and far between. Perhaps the most explicit
inclusion of the condition in intellectual
property law was the publication requirement
for copyright protection.
Until the 1976
Copyright Act became effective, federal
copyright protection for a work commenced
upon publication. n161 Publication ensured
that the literary work was not being wasted.
Effectively, ideas could be monopolized
through copyrights only when put to good use,
i.e., published. Yet since 1976, publication has
not been required for federal copyright protection,
n162 and even before 1976,
common law copyright or state statutes
protected the author's unpublished work in the
stages before federal statutory
copyrights could have been granted. n163
It is difficult to think of any other ways in
which intellectual property schemes embody
any notion of the non-waste condition.
Patents, copyrights, and trade secrets all are
recognized whether or not the owner is
squandering or has shelved the idea. In the
case of quasi-property, the legal right to waste
a news story by nonpublication has not been
clearly stated, but surely this is because of the
news story's limited shelf life and not the law's
limited protection. n164
E. FINAL COMMENTS ON A LOCKEAN
The absence of a non-waste condition in
intellectual property systems does not weaken
a Lockean justification for intellectual
property. Locke, after all, declined to apply
the non-waste condition to the advanced social
conditions which are required by most
intellectual property systems. However, it
may be disconcerting to those of us who
believe that applying the non-waste condition
to advanced societies would produce a more
moral justification for property. Intellectual
property systems, however, do seem to accord
with Locke's labor condition and the "enough
and as good" requirement. In fact, the "enough
and as good" condition seems to hold true only
in intellectual property systems. n165 That
may mean that Locke's unique theoretical
edifice finds its firmest bedrock in the common
My own view is that a labor theory of
intellectual property is powerful, but
incomplete. I believe we also need the support
of a personality theory, such as the one Page 28
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * proposed by Hegel, in which property is
justified as an expression of the self. Some
writers have suggested that Locke actually
subscribed to such a personality theory in
which "applying one's labor to a natural object
. . . endow[s] it with certain features pertaining
to one's own form of existence." n166 With
this understanding of Locke, the
difference between him and Hegel -- at least as
to the analysis of intellectual property -- may
III. A HEGELIAN JUSTIFICATION
In the preceding discussion, I argued that
Locke's labor theory can serve as a powerful
justification for intellectual property.
beyond intellectual property, a Lockean model
thickens with the ingredients of modern life:
financial markets, capital accumulation, service
industries, inheritance, and the like. Those
who try to apply Locke to all modern property
end up multiplying distinctions like preCopernican astronomers calculating celestial
orbits with their Ptolemaic epicycles. At some
point, it becomes easier to reorient one's
The most powerful alternative to a Lockean
model of property is a personality justification.
Such a justification posits that property
provides a unique or especially suitable
mechanism for self-actualization, for personal
expression, and for dignity and recognition as
an individual person. Professor Margaret
Radin describes this as the "personhood
perspective" n167 and identifies as its central
tenet the proposition that, "to achieve proper
self-development -- to be a person -- an
individual needs some control over resources
in the external environment." n168 According
to this personality theory, the kind of control
needed is best fulfilled by the set of rights we
call property rights. Like the labor theory, the personality
theory has an intuitive appeal when applied to
intellectual property: an idea belongs to its
creator because the idea is a manifestation of
the creator's personality or self. The best
known personality theory is Hegel's theory of
n169 This section sketches his
property theory, its application to intellectual
property, and some problems of using the
personality theory as a justification for
In the field of intellectual property, the
personality justification is best applied to the
arts. This is true both in theory and in
European legal systems that have recognized a
personality basis for property. Efforts to
introduce the personality justification into
American law frequently appeal to those
European intellectual property laws. n170 As
an alternative, I suggest ways to [*331] bring
civil liberties doctrines to bear on intellectual
property and, in so doing, inject the
intellectual property law.
PROPERTY INTELLECTUAL 1. The General Hegelian Philosophy
At the heart of Hegel's philosophy are his
difficult concepts of human will, personality,
and freedom. For Hegel, the individual's will
is the core of the individual's existence,
constantly seeking actuality (Wirklichkeit) and
effectiveness in the world. Hegel perceives a
hierarchy of elements in an individual's mental
make-up in which the will occupies the highest
position. As one of Hegel's biographers wrote,
the Hegelian will is that in which thought and
impulse, mind and heart, "are combined in
We can identify "personality" with the
will's struggle to actualize itself. Hence Hegel Page 29
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * writes that "[a] person must translate his
freedom into an external sphere in order to
exist as an Idea" n172 and that "[p]ersonality
is the first, still wholly abstract, determination
of the absolute and infinite will." n173 For
Hegel, "[p]ersonality is that which struggles to
lift itself above this restriction [of being only
subjective] and to give itself reality, or in other
words to claim that external world as its own."
Invariably, writings on Hegel devote some
attention to the difference between Hegelian
"freedom" -- as it appears in the passage above
-- and the conception of "freedom" which lies
at the root of classical liberalism. However,
these disparate conceptions of freedom need
not greatly affect the acceptability of Hegel's
justification for property.
To the classical liberal, true freedom is a
freedom from external restraint. For Hegel,
freedom is increasingly realized as the
individual unites with and is expressed
through a higher objective order: a unity
which, to the classic liberal, is tantamount to
drowning the individual in the larger "geist" of
social groups. In the words of R. N. Berki,
Hegel's notion of "philosophical freedom grows
with comprehensiveness and with ever higher
degrees of realized self-determination, thus, an
animal is freer than a physical object, a man
freer than an animal, the family freer than the
individual, the State freer than the family,
World-History freer than the State."
Berki's summary is instructive [*332] on the
difference between liberal and Hegelian
notions of freedom: this difference is more
about the proper receptacle of freedom than
about the nature of freedom. Both recognize
freedom as involving expression and
realization. The liberal reposes this freedom in
the individual while Hegel discards the individual when he believes it is time to
pursue freedom to new and dizzying heights.
In his property theory, however, Hegel
focused on the immediate freedom of an
individual. n176 So at this level the liberal's
critique of Hegel should be most muted. The
liberal still differs from Hegel by defining
freedom as the absence of restraints, but this
negative definition means little without the
positive freedom to act upon things.
Camus' Caligula, n177 the despotic Emperor
declares himself to be the most free man in the
world because no wish is denied him. Caligula
has few external restraints; he can manifest his
will on anything within the reach of Imperial
legions or roman sesterce.
Caligula's claim to be a model of freedom
for his people is faint comforts to them because
they frequently are the things upon which he
manifest his will. At least at the level of
individual freedom, Hegel denounced such
manifestations of will upon others.
Caligula's material self-indulgence points to a
weakness in both Hegelian and classical liberal
theories: the need to sort out the effects upon
other people of an individual's exercise of
freedom over inanimate objects.
Hegel's system, property is a genre of freedom
and, like any other freedom, it may have
deleterious on other.
2. The Property/Person Connection
Drawing upon his model of the hierarchy
of elements in the individual's make-up, Hegel
implies that the will holds the "inferior"
elements of the self as if they were a type of
property. n180 It is worth noting that this
view is not very distant from Locke's initial
premise that "every Man has a Property is his
own Person." n181 Assuming that the self is a
type of property, the difference between
internal property of this sort and property Page 30
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * external to the person is that the latter can be
alienated. This reasoning can lead to an
abandoning of barriers in both directions. As
Dudley Knowles put it: "[T]he
contraction of the core of one's property into
the sphere of personality (life, limb, and
liberty) licenses the expansion of the concept of
personality to cover those physical objects
which are deemed to be property." n182
According to Hegel, the will interacts with
the external world at different levels of
Mental processes -- such as
recognizing, classifying, explaining, and
be viewed as
appropriations of the external world by the
n183 Cognition and resulting
knowledge, however, are the world imposing
itself upon the mind. The will is not bound by
these impressions. It seeks to appropriate the
external world in a different way -- by
imposing itself upon the world. This is the
true purpose of property and, perhaps to
emphasize that purpose, Hegel explicitly
disavows any need for the institution of
property to satisfy physical wants. n184
Acting upon things is an initial step in the
struggle for self-actualization.
Socially mandated property rights do not
trigger this self-actualization; they are only a
means to protect the individual's initial
attempt to take command of the world. Once
we accept that self-actualization is manifested
in enduring objects as well as in fleeting acts,
property rights acquire an important purpose
in preventing men from forever being
embroiled in an internecine conflict of each
individual trying to protect his first forays at
self-actualization from the predation of others.
Property becomes expression of the will, a part
of personality, and it creates the conditions for
further free action. n185 Respect for property allows the will to
continue abstraction and "objectification." With
some property secure, people can pursue
freedom in non-property areas or they may
continue to develop themselves by using
property to move themselves toward the
person they wish to become. Knowles has
clearly depicted the Hegelian interaction
between property and personal development:
"Imaginative conceptions of our future selves
are indistinguishable from fantasy or daydreams unless they are supported by
acquisition, investment, or planned savings. . .
. Anyone who wishes to conduct an inventory
of his desires may profitably begin by walking
round his own dwelling or looking into his
Property is not just a matter of the physical
world giving way to assertion of the self, for
the society must acknowledge and approve
property claims. Through society's acceptance
of the individual's claims upon external
objects, [*334] possession becomes property,
and the expression of the individual becomes
n187 for Hegel, increased
objectivity is increased freedom in part because
social recognition of a person's claims to
private property demonstrates that the
individual's claims comport with that social
The individual person comes to be
"occupation" and "embodiment."
Although much of Hegel's language seems to
support either a "first possession" theory or a
labor theory, neither accurately captures what
he means by occupation. He characterized
possession of the object as the initial step in
property, n189 but this is because the will can
only occupy a re nullius -- either a virgin object
or something that has been abandoned. n190 Page 31
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * Abandonment occurs easily in the
Hegelian system because the relationship
between person and object is fluid. Being first
in possession of an object is not sufficient to
maintain title to it; the property relationship
continues only so long as the will manifests
itself in the object. Because "the will to possess
something must express itself," n191 a person
who fails to reaffirm constantly this expression
can "lose possession of property through
prescription." n192 The individual also can
actively withdraw his will; this is the basis of
Labor often is the means by which the will
occupies an object. n194 But while labor may
be a sufficient condition for occupation, it is
not a necessary one. For example, one may
manifest one's will in a gift or in a natural
object to which one becomes emotionally
attached. n195 There is a rock on my shelf
from the coast of Corsica that reminds me of
days spent there. My will occupies that rock
without wishing to change it and without
having labored upon it. This exemplifies
another non-condition of occupation; Hegel
specifically [*335] argues that an individual
need not use an object to occupy it. n196
This is not to say that there are no objective
indicia of the will's occupation. Hegel sets out
three ways in which the will may occupy an
object: physically seizing it, imposing a form
upon it, and marking it. n197 This would not
appear to be an exhaustive list of events that
signal possession, nor is Hegel precise in
defining these three events. Thus he finds use,
when aimed toward preservation of the object,
equivalent to "marking it" because it shows the
will's desire to make the object a permanent
part of the inventory of things utilized and
enjoyed by the individual. n198 Hegel seems to envision spatio-temporal
proximity between the individual and the
object, but that too is only indicia rather than a
requirement. Unlike the labor theory, Hegel's
focuses on where a commodity ends up,
not where and how it starts out. . . . [I]t
focuses on the person with whom it ends up -on an internal quality in the holder or a
subjective relationship between the holder and
the thing, and not on the objective
arrangements surrounding production of the
As Radin points out in this passage, the
connection between personality and property
A person could claim a
personality stake in any material object,
meaning that the personality justification is
liable to excessive claims. It is a theory that
allows Virginia Woolf to claim a room of her
own, but also allows Louis XIV to claim the
2,697 rooms of Versailles.
identifications with property that should not
give rise to legitimate property claims. Early
in his writings, Hegel hinted that certain selfidentifications with property were destructive
to the individual.
For example, in the
Theologische Jugendschriften, n200 Hegel argues
that the ownership of property can stand in the
way of complete harmony between individuals
in love. "The dead object in the power of one
of the lovers is opposed to both of them, and a
union in respect of it seems to be possible only
if it comes under the dominion of both." n201
This destructive effect of property should
be distinguished from the alienation that later
came to propel Hegelian and Marxian social
criticism. It differs from the problem of a
laborer who attaches his existence to objects
that he produces but does not own: the plight Page 32
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * for such a laborer is that his identity is attached
to something that is not his property. Nor is
this the problem [*336] of a person owning
things with which he does not identify. n202
In the Jugendschriften, the problem is that a
person owns and identifies with some property
to his own detriment; it prevents a greater
happiness in the form of a love relationship.
Generalizing from this example, we might
say that a person's identification with property
is "unhealthy" when it prevents that person
from maximizing self-actualization from other
sources -- lovers, friends, careers, peer groups,
other property, and even feelings antithetical
to the possession of property such as the
flower-child freedom of the 1960s.
complexity of maximizing self-actualization
usually makes us defer to the judgments of the
individual. However, when the industrialist is
inextricably in love with the flower child, we
may conclude that his property is unhealthy
for his present and future self-actualization. this property to X would deny Y the possibility
of obtaining property.
standard, whether an act of appropriation is
"healthy" depends upon whether it has
deleterious effects on others. This standard
has a resemblance to Locke's "enough and as
good" condition. As long as there is enough
and as good potential property for the selfactualization of others, one may appropriate.
In fact, Radin's principle of "fungible" and
"personal" property is the "enough and as
good" condition unless we construe it in one of
The first construction would
require people to disgorge their fungible
property, even when there is "enough and as
good." This position does not make much
sense if subjective judgments determine
personal attachment to property. Property that
objectively appears to be fungible may actually
be personal; [*337] occasionally someone will
have a personality stake in U.S. Savings Bonds
or GM stock. Radin also has expressed concern about the
adverse effects of property on selfactualization. However, she focuses concern
on the detrimental impact of property on
people other than the property owner. She
"personal" property, the latter being property
which increases self-actualization. She adopts
the principle that property fungible to person
X should be denied to X if giving that property
to X would deny personal (that is, selfactualizing) property to Y. n203 The second construction would not require
people to disgorge personal property even
when there is not "enough and as good"
property available to all. This position makes
some sense on a cost/benefit rationale: with
truly personal property, we may be damaging
the self-actualization of the property-loser as
much as we would augment the selfactualization of those to whom the property is
distributed. In a world of property shortage,
some persons will be malnourished in their
self-actualization. It is just a matter of who. Radin's standard accords with Hegel's own
reasoning. In addressing the severe inequality
of property distribution in his own day, Hegel
argued that his system required only equality
as to the possibility of obtaining property. n204
Hegel implicitly endorses the view that
property can be denied to person X if giving The fungible/personal distinction therefore
renews the subjectivity dilemma, a problem
recognized by Radin.
"personal" are strong intuitive guides in a
culture enamored with economic analysis.
Stock portfolios, mining rights, and tons of
wheat are fungible; photos, diaries, and pets Page 33
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * are not. Yet this leads us nowhere with the
person willing to sell his grandmother or the
person who keeps pet wheat. We are left with
either an artificially constrained or an entirely
subjective measure of when property
actualizes the self.
3. Intellectual Property Under Hegel
For Hegel, intellectual property need not
be justified by analogy to physical property. In
fact, the analogy to physical property may
distort the status Hegel ascribes to personality
and mental traits in relation to the will. Hegel
Mental aptitudes, erudition, artistic skill,
even things ecclesiastical (like sermons,
masses, prayers, consecration of votive
objects), inventions, and so forth, become
subjects of a contract, brought on to a parity,
through being bought and sold, with things
recognized as things. It may be asked whether
the artist, scholar, &c., is from the legal point of
view in possession of his art, erudition, ability
to preach a sermon, sing a mass, &c., that is,
whether such attainments are "things." We
may hesitate to call such abilities, attainments,
aptitudes, &c., "things," for while possession of
these may be the subject of business dealings
and contracts, as if they were things, there is
also something inward and mental about it,
and for this reason the Understanding may be
in perplexity about how to describe such
possession in legal terms. . . . n205
Intellectual property provides a way out of
this problem, by "materializing" these personal
traits. Hegel goes on to say that "[a]ttainments,
eruditions, talents, and so forth, are, of course,
owned by free mind and are something
internal and not external to it, but even so, by
expressing them it may embody [*338] them
in something external and alienate them."
n206 Hegel takes the position that one cannot
alienate or surrender any universal element of
one's self. Hence slavery is not permissible
because by "alienating the whole of my time,
as crystallized in my work, I would be making
into another's property the substance of my
being, my universal activity and actuality, my
personality." n207 Similarly, there is no right
to sacrifice one's life because that is the
surrender of the "comprehensive sum of
external activity." n208 This doctrine supplies
at least a framework to answer the question of
intellectual property that most concerns Hegel.
It is a question we ignore today, but one that is
not easy to answer: what justifies the author in
alienating copies of his work while retaining
the exclusive right to reproduce further copies
of that work?
A sculptor or painter physically embodies
his will in the medium and produces one piece
of art. When another artist copies this piece
Hegel thinks that the hand-made copy "is
essentially a product of the copyist's own
mental and technical ability" and does not
infringe upon the original artist's property.
n209 The problem arises when a creator of
intellectual property does not embody his will
in an object in the same way the artist does.
The writer physically manifests his will only
"in a series of abstract symbols" which can be
rendered into "things" by mechanical processes
not requiring any talent. n210 The dilemma is
exacerbated by the fact that "the purpose of a
product of mind is that people other than its
author should understand it and make it the
possession of their ideas, memory, thinking,
&c." n211 This concern for the common of
ideas is familiar.
In resolving this dilemma, Hegel says that
the alienation of a single copy of a work need
not entail the right to produce facsimiles
because such reproduction is one of the Page 34
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * "universal ways and means of expression . . .
which belong to [the author]." n212 Just as he
does not sell himself into slavery, the author
keeps the universal aspect of expression as his
own. The copy sold is for the buyer's own
consumption; its only purpose is to allow the
buyer to incorporate these ideas into his "self."
Hegel also identifies the instrumentalistlabor justification as a consideration against
granting full rights of reproduction to buyers
of individual copies [*339] of a work. Hegel
admits that protecting intellectual property is
"[t]he purely negative, though the primary,
means of advancing the sciences and arts."
n213 Beyond this, Hegel says little.
declares that intellectual property is a "capital
asset" and explicitly links this label to a later
section in which he defines a "capital asset."
n214 There is considerable literature on how
Hegel did not develop the idea of "capital" to
its logical conclusions, n215 but here "capital
asset" can be understood as property which
has a greater tendency to permanence and a
greater ability than other property to give its
own economic security.
PROBLEMS IN APPLYING THE
A property system protecting personality
will have difficulty finding reliable indicia for
when people do and do not have a "personality
stake" in particular objects. The personality
justification also leaves some nagging
theoretical questions. Even if we reliably could
detect when a person possesses a "personality
stake" in an object, we surely would find that
personality is manifested to varying degrees in
This is the personality
counterpart to the varying amounts of labor
one "puts" into different objects. Neither
personality nor labor is simply an on-off proposition.
The question is: Does more
personality warrant more property protection?
This problem also has a "categorical" aspect
-- different categories of intellectual property
seem to lend themselves to different amounts
of "personality." Poetry seems to lend itself to
personality better than trade secrets,
symphonies better than microchip masks.
Should poetry as a category receive more
protection than microchip masks. Should
some categories receive no protection at all
from the personality justification? Finally, the
theory suffers from internal inconsistency in its
somewhat incoherent account of alienation.
Varying Degrees of Personality in
One of the problems with the labor theory
discussed in Part II is that some intellectual
products have no apparent social value or
require no labor to produce, leaving these
pieces of property unjustified by the labor
theory. The personality justification has the
same problem with those intellectual products
that appear to reflect little or no personality
from their creators. As with the labor theory,
we can overcome this difficulty with a
property rights on the grounds that they
protect the "net gain" of personality achieved
by the entire system. This avoids the question
of whether or not personality is present in
every case of intellectual property. Yet the
personality justification has this same
"coverage" problem at a "categorical" level.
With a controversial exception mentioned
below, there seem to be no categories of
intellectual property that are especially more
or less hospitable to the labor theory. This is
not true with the personality justification.
Some categories of intellectual property seem
to be receptacles for personality; others seem Page 35
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * as if they do not manifest any "personality" of
Poems, stories, novels, and musical works
are clearly receptacles for personality. The
same can be said for sculpture, paintings, and
prints. Justice Holmes aptly characterized
such works as "the personal reaction of an
individual upon nature."
receptacle for personality is the legal concept
of an individual's "persona." The "persona" is
an individual's public image, including his
physical features, mannerisms, and history.
n217 In the U.S., it is debated whether or not
the personal should be considered intellectual
property at all. The answer to this question
may turn on what justification we use for
The persona is the one type of potential
intellectual property which is generally
thought of as not being a result of labor. n218
Even if the persona is considered to be a
product of labor, people would work on their
personas without any property rights being
necessary to motivate them. Therefore, the
instrumental labor justification is not
necessary. In contrast, the persona is the ideal
property for the personality justification. No
intermediary concepts such as "expression" or
"manifestation" are needed: the persona is the
reaction of society and a personality. Property
rights in the persona give the individual the
economic value derived most directly from
n219 As long as an
individual identifies with his personal image,
he will [*341] have a personality stake in that
The problems for the personality
justification do not arise in justifying these
obvious expressions or manifestations of
personality, but with those kinds of intellectual
property that do not seem to be the personal reaction of an individual upon nature. Even in
the field of copyright these problems arise.
While most of the personality-laden categories
are protected by copyrights, copyrights protect
more than just personality-rich objects. Atlases
and maps are a good example. In the early
days of oceanic explorations, mapmakers
competed with one another on their claims of
accuracy. Today, the same competition does
not arise because the generic information is
already there in the form of old maps and
publicly held government materials. n221 The
result is that maps have a tremendous
uniformity. There may be personality galore
in a map of Tolkien's Middle Earth, but not
much in a roadmap of Ohio. That does not
mean maps are absolutely devoid of
personality. Certainly a new form of map
manifests personal creativity, as in the case of
Peter Arno's revisions of the Mercator
n222 Even in everyday maps,
there can be artistic content or social
commentary in the choices of color, identifying
symbols, and information included. n223
More difficult problems for the personality
justification are posed by copyrightable
computer software and other technological
categories of intellectual property: patents,
microchip masks, and engineering trade
secrets. These items usually embody strongly
utilitarian solutions to very specific needs. We
tend not to think of them as manifesting the
personality of an individual, but rather as
manifesting a raw, almost generic insight. In
inventing the light bulb, Edison searched for
the filament material that would burn the
longest, not a filament that would reflect his
personality. Marconi chose to use a [*342]
particular wavelength for his radio because
that wavelength could travel much farther
than waves slightly longer, not because that Page 36
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * wavelength
expression. was his preferred form of In a report related to the recently enacted
microchip mask protection law,
attempts by some microchip inventors to
protect chip designs by copyrighting
photographs of the chips' layout as artistic
n225 This clear attempt to use a
system designed to protect personality-rich art
for the protection of engineering designs
The House Committee
concluded, as most of us do, that engineering
designs are characterless and without
personality. As congressmen or consumers,
we generally think that state of the art is not
Yet technology may not be categorically
different from atlases and maps. The primary
goal of computer programs is to produce a
particular result using as little software and
hardware as possible. But writing programs,
like creating logical proofs, can involve a
certain aesthetic vision.
n227 Within the
constraints of efficiency, it is frequently
possible to write a program a number of ways
-- some simpler, some more byzantine; each
depicts a particular style for resolving the
problem. If there are ten ways to write a
program of roughly the same efficiency, it
seems perfectly reasonable to think that the
choice among the ten may demonstrate
It is an oversimplification to think that
some genres of intellectual property cannot
avoids the true issue of the constraints of
economy, efficiency, and physical environment
which limit the range of personal expression.
Such constraints exist to some degree in every
genre. Few movies or plays can afford to ignore the average attention span of audiences
or the limits of a budget; the artist in the plastic
arts is constrained by the physical properties of
the materials; the architect faces these material
constraints with the additional limits of plot
size, location, and zoning regulations. The
computer programmer and the cartographer
are further along the spectrum of constraint,
but even they can embellish their works to suit
at least some of their own predilections. The
genetic researcher [*343] or the aerospace
engineer are even more constrained; their
slightest embellishments may be dangerous
The more a creative process is subject to
external constraints, the less apparent
personality is in the creation. At some point,
these constraints on a particular form of
intellectual property may be too great to
permit meaningful expressions of personality.
We may determine that the personality
justification should apply only to some genres
of intellectual property or that the personality
generally present in a particular genre
warrants only limited protection. n229
In the ideal situation, before we made such
a determination we would ask the creator what
personality she sees in her creation. As mere
consumers we may think a genre of intellectual
property too constrained to permit expressions
of personality, while the majority of creators in
that genre may think that their works do
express personality. Subtle manifestations of
personality may be visible only to people
knowledgeable in that field. n230 Just as chess
players can recognize particular moves as
reflecting the personality of certain players,
particular moves in a computer program or a
chemical process may be characteristic of a
particular inventor or group. Page 37
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * This
personality stake as being a question of
whether or not there is personality in the
object. In other words, does the object show
others an aspect of the creator's self? This
aspect of the personality-property connection
focuses on the expression of the creator's will
through the medium of her creation. The
creation itself is merely a conduit for the
expression of personality. Another type of
personality stake may exist, however.
A person may claim property so that others
will identify him with the property. In this
case, the creator claims his property in order to
create (rather than express) a particular persona.
This "externalization" accords with Hegel's
theory. Hegel argues that recognizing an
individual's property rights is an act of
recognizing the individual as a person. n231
That same reasoning applies to the
externalization connection: if X owns a patent,
people will recognize him as a particular
person -- the inventor of a unique innovation.
There is a problem, however, with
founding intellectual property rights upon
such externalization. X can't just say "I want
people to identify me with the World Trade
Center" and expect this to justify his property
claim to [*344] it. The individual must have
some internal connection to the claimed
property. This connection need not be that the
object "expresses" the owner's personality. It
may be simply that the owner identifies himself
with the object. With inventions, the object
may precede the personality stake, but with
time the scientist or engineer comes to identify
himself with his scientific or technological
advances. Doppler became identified with
certain principles of sound, Edison with the
light bulb and gramophone, Bell with his
telephone. The personality inquiry cannot just
examine the object. The relationship between object and creator is where personality is
Justification and the Personality Hegel regards alienation as the final
element in the agenda of an individual's
relationship to the propertized thing. Viewed
as a single act, alienation is equivalent to
abandonment: "The reason I can alienate my
property is that it is mine only insofar as I put
my will into it. Hence I may abandon . . . as a
res nullius anything that I have or yield it to the
will of another. . . ." n232
There is some intuitive appeal in this view
of alienation, especially in a barter-exchange
framework. n233 Two people can exchange
distinct objects if each thinks her own
personality would be better expressed through
the object presently owned by the other.
Jessica can exchange her comic books for Ken's
baseball cards if she has more interest in
baseball than in the exploits of Spiderman.
Ken will engage in the same transaction if he
identifies with superheroes more than with the
baseball heroes collecting dust in his closet.
Each person increases the actualization of his
or her personality.
In a money economy, however, the
exchange may lose some of its intuitive appeal.
An individual alienates his property for value
which he can then invest in things which will
increase self-actualization above what it would
have been had he continued to own the
Depending upon the
degree of development, however, the
individual might not be able to increase selfactualization through future investment. One
can no longer be as certain that he will receive
a profitable return. A fragile money economy - subject to inflation and shortages -- threatens
the prospect of translating value received into Page 38
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * increased self-actualization. A stable economy
strengthens the prospect.
The risk of unprofitable investment,
however, is not the main problem. Alienation
is more than just "giving up" something. Like
many of the rights encompassed by property,
the right to alienate X is the right partially to
determine X's future. In an absolute sense,
only the future decisionmaker -- the transferee
-- for X is determined, but in practice an act of
alienation usually [*345] establishes clear
probabilities as to the future of the object itself.
This is true whether the alienation conveys
land to a developer, sends a horse to a glue
factory, or sells weapons to terrorist
To better understand this, imagine a
system of depositing or redepositing objects in
a "community bank" for which, upon deposit,
one received value coupons. The property,
once in the bank, becomes a res nullius, and the
bank would dispose of this property on a firstcome/first-serve basis, much like the
government auctions newly acquired lands or
unclaimed postal freight.
The difference between alienation and this
community bank is that most alienation
involves some degree of determining the
object's future. Imagine that Jessica can sell her
new baseball card collection to David, an avid
collector, or to Nat, the restaurateur who is
opening a sports version of the Hard Rock
Cafe and is looking for wall decorations. Now
Jessica's act of alienation involves the choice of
where and how the property will be used in
This is the paradox of alienation under the
personality model of property. The present
owner maintains ownership because he
identifies the property as an expression of his
self. Alienation is the denial of this personal link to an object. But if the personal link does
not exist -- if the object does not express or
manifest part of the individual's personality -there is no foundation for property rights over
the object by which the "owner" may
determine the object's future. An owner's
present desire to alienate a piece of property is
connected to the recognition that the property
either is not or soon will not be an expression
of himself. Thus, the justification for property
is missing. This subtle control of the object's
future does not jibe with foreseen future denial
of the personality stake.
One way to explain this paradox is to say
that the personality justification is powerful for
property protection, but that it fails to explain
property exchange. Using Radin's terminology,
the willingness to sell a piece of property
suggests that the property has moved from the
"personal" category to the "fungible" category.
This follows because personal property is
defined as having an internal value for the
property owner in excess of possible external
value. When a buyer comes forward offering a
price acceptable to the owner, there is an
commensurate to the owner's internal
valuation and the personality justification for
guarding rights to personal property vanishes.
Specific covenants and restrictions on
property suffer in the same way. A restriction
-- covenant, servitude, or easement -acknowledges that the present owner has a
limited personality interest continuing into the
future. Restrictions on real property, such as
preservation of particular natural features or
prohibitions on particular uses, seem like very
honest claims to future [*346] personality
stakes in property. By using a restriction, a
person retains the specific stick(s) in the
bundle of property rights which will "contain"
his continuing personality stake. Page 39
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * The restriction turns a present owner's
freedom to choose from varying courses of
action into a future static condition inherent in
the property. A farm owner's right to cut
down a woods in the corner of his farm is
transformed into a static condition when he
sells the farm with a restriction against
destroying those trees.
produces a static condition which continues
regardless of the evolving wishes of either the
original owner or the new owner. This static
condition replaces both the original owner's
right and the new owner's right.
alienation, the condition becomes subject to the
new owner's right.
The original owner
alienated his property, betting only on the
probability that the new owner would not
pursue a course of action that offends him.
It is more difficult to defend a personality
justification for restrictions than it is for
We often use our
property rights to alter an object to suit our
A restriction destroys the
flexibility by which property becomes and
continues to be a reflection of those who own
it. This flexibility, of course, may not matter to
an original owner seeking to preserve
memories, but it will matter a great deal to the
new owner seeking to maximize his personal
expression. Perhaps it is no accident that even
more so than covenants disallowed for
violating public policy or constitutional
n234 covenants creating
affirmative obligations on real property are
n235 and "a general
restraint upon alienation is ordinarily invalid."
n236 Such a restraint would be ideal for an
owner who wishes to alienate and to control
the object's future. It would permit him to
choose the new owner (whose probable use of
the property can be known) and restrict to
whom the new owner can alienate. Alienation of intellectual property can take
one of two basic forms. The first is its entire
alienation by selling, at one time, all rights to
the property. The second is the complete
alienation of copies of the property with
limitations on how those copies may be used:
the selling of copies of copyrighted works,
objects displaying trademarks, or licenses to
use patented technology. n237
Alienation of the entire intellectual
property -- all rights to a trademark, [*347]
patent, or copyright -- has the same
paradoxical problems as does the alienation of
physical objects. If a person genuinely has no
personality stake in a work, why should she
determine who publishes it, who markets it, or
who dramatizes it? If an inventor foresees that
an invention will neither manifest his vision of
the world nor speak as an expression of his
identity, why should he derive economic value
from it? As with physical property, on most
intellectual property is an exercise of rights
over property in an act that, by its nature,
denies the personality stake necessary to
justify property rights.
This paradox of personality and alienation
is more acute with intellectual property
because, in the absence of any physically
tangible res (other than the copy, which is not
itself the entirety of the property) that is
distinct from the creator's personality, it is
difficult to conceive of abandonment. If there
is no "thing" to abandon, how is alienation
possible? Abandonment of an idea is arguably
alienation of personality -- a prohibited act in
Hegel's system. n238
When I take the rock from my shelf and
toss it back onto the Corsican beach, I do so
because I no longer identify with the memories
the rock evokes and no longer see it as Page 40
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * manifesting a part of my life. We go through
this same process when we put old knickknacks in a garage sale or send old clothes to
the Salvation Army.
The res exists
independent of our personality, so it is not
incoherent to claim that there is no longer a
personality stake in the res.
This abandonment of a personality stake
will be incoherent if there is no recognizable
res that exists beyond the individual's
The question is whether the
created work exists independent of the creator:
does the expression turn to artifact?
Performing artists often war with writers and
composers over this issue. Seeking maximum
freedom, the performers view the particular
play or musical composition they are using as
a device for their own expression, a res through
which they can express their personalities. Yet
the writer or composer may not think the res is
abandoned at all.
Playwrights versus actors, composers
versus conductors and orchestras -- these two
sides will always be locked in one another's
arms, in a grip that is both mortal combat and
mutual need. It is possible to draw many
comparisons and analogies to this issue. There
is the familiar comparison to the rights of
parents -- the author having a parental stake in
her work. A less familiar analogy might be
made to the questions of original intent and
interpretivism in constitutional jurisprudence.
The "interpreters" believe that intellectual
property can be, and usually is,
abandoned. Their vision is reinforced by both
popular notions of artistic development and
philosophical notions of personal identity. A
writer may simply no longer identify with
something he previously wrote. A Picasso or a
Le Corbusier may change radically the style of
his work and, in the end, no longer identify with the works of the abandoned period.
David Bowie can move beyond "Ziggy
n239 and David Stockman can
repudiate his doctrine of supply-side
n240 Philosophers are familiar
with arguments that there is no reason to
identify the works written by Jorge Luis
Borges in 1956 as a manifestation of the
personality of Jorge Luis Borges as of 1986. For
Borges in 1986, his earlier works may indeed
have seemed liked a res nulli. n241
Hegel seems to have taken a contrary view,
considering the complete alienation of
intellectual property to be wrong -- morally
analogous to slavery or suicide because it is the
surrender of a "universal" aspect of the self.
n242 Selling an entire piece of intellectual
property seems like a lesser surrender of the
self, but Hegel considered it too much a
"universal" part of the individual to be
He seemed to identify the
intellectual object as an ongoing expression of
its creator, not as a free, abandonable cultural
object. Supporting Hegel's view, we can note
that even when the creator thinks he has
abandoned the object, he may still identify
with it enough to oppose certain uses for it.
Even after "abandoning" a visual image, the
artist might oppose its use as a symbol by a
fringe political or religious organization.
The alienation of copies of the intellectual
property offers a different set of [*349] issues.
An owner may or may not limit the uses to
which the alienated copies may be put.
However, in either case the original owner still
retains rights over the property. This type of
alienation does not fall prey to the paradox of
complete alienation: there is no exercise of
property rights (alienation) after an "owner" no
longer has a personality stake in an object. It
also is immune from Hegel's objection to the
selling of a part of oneself. Unlike physical Page 41
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * property, the owner can, in this way, alienate
the intellectual property while keeping the
"whole" of the property and himself.
Not only does Hegel's personality theory
pose no inherent objection to this kind of
alienation of intellectual property, it also
provides affirmative justifications.
focuses on one such justification -- concern for
the economic well-being of the intellectual
property creator. n243
At first blush, this economic rationale
seems far removed from the concerns of
personality theory, n244 yet it can be recast
into the framework of the personality theory.
From the Hegelian perspective, payments from
intellectual property users to the property
creator are acts of recognition.
payments acknowledge the individual's claim
over the property, and it is through such
acknowledgement that an individual is
recognized by others as a person.
"Recognition" involves more than lip service.
If I say "this forest is your property" and then
proceed to flagrantly trespass, cut your timber,
and hunt your deer, I have not recognized
your property rights.
recognition of an intellectual property claim is
not equal to the recognition implicit in a
payment. Purchasers of a copyrighted work or
licensees of a patent form a circle of people
recognizing the creator as a person.
Furthermore, this generation of income
complements the personality theory in as
much as income facilitates further expression.
When royalties from an invention allow the
inventor to buy a grand piano he has always
wanted, the transaction helps maximize
personality. But this argument tends to be too
broad. First, much income is used for basic
necessities, leading to the vacuous position
that life-sustenance is "personally maximizing" because it allows the personality to continue.
Second, this approach could justify property
rights for after-the-fact development of
personality interests without requiring [*350]
such interests in the property at the time the
property rights are granted.
The personality theory provides a better,
more direct justification for the alienation of
intellectual property, especially copies. The
alienation of copies is perhaps the most
rational way to gain exposure for one's ideas.
This is a non-economic, and perhaps higher,
form of the idea of recognition: respect, honor,
and admiration. Even for starving artists
recognition of this sort may be far more
valuable than economic rewards.
Two conditions appear essential, however,
to this justification of alienation: first, the
creator of the work must receive public
identification, and, second, the work must
receive protection against any changes
unintended or unapproved by the creator.
Hegel's prohibition of "complete" alienation of
intellectual property appears to result from his
recognition of the necessity for these two
conditions. While he would permit alienation
of copies, and even the rights to further
reproduction, n246 he disapproves alienation
of "those goods, or rather substantive
characteristics, which constitute . . . private
personality and the universal essence of . . .
n247 Such alienation
necessarily occurs if the recognition of the
connection between a creator and his
expression is destroyed or distorted. When the
first condition is violated, this recognition is
destroyed; when the second condition is
violated, it is distorted.
C. THE PERSONALITY JUSTIFICATION
IN U.S. LAW Page 42
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * These two conditions are recognized in
French and German intellectual property law
under the general name of "moral rights."
n248 For both copyright and patent owners,
there is the right to be properly identified with
one's creations. n249 For copyright owners,
there also exists an inalienable right to guard
the integrity of a work against change that
would damage the author's reputation or
destroy his intended message. n250
Although this article will not
critique these continental laws in depth, a
couple of observations are in order. First, even
in these systems, there is no clear right for
patent owners to protect the integrity of their
creation, although they do enjoy a right to have
their name attached to the patent. This may
reflect an implicit social judgment that the
degree of personality reflection in most
patented works is different and smaller than in
most copyrighted works.
forbidding alienation of certain rights in
intellectual property, these civil systems
prevent the complete alienation of the
property: "transfer of the copyright as a whole
between living persons is basically precluded
on account of the elements of the right of
personality (droit moral)." n251
There are no provisions in American
copyright law giving an author "moral rights"
to protect against distortion and to ensure
recognition. n252 It is interesting, however, to
note how the personality justification has
subtly affected American copyright doctrine.
n253 The property interest in a work does not
depend on any external measure of artistic,
cultural, or social worth in any field covered
by copyright. The world is full of bad, but
nonetheless personal, poetry and of paintings
that look like Rorschach images to everyone
but the painter. Initially there seems to have
been some confusion as to whether worth was a prerequisite to copyright -- but this
uncertainty was dispelled in the 1903 case of
Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing Co. n254
In Bleistein the plaintiff sought to protect
three lithographs used as advertisements for a
circus. Against the defendant's calls to require
some level of artistic achievement before
conferring copyright, the Supreme Court held
that copyright of the prints was not barred
because of their "limited pretensions." n255
Writing for the majority, Justice Holmes wrote
that "[a] very modest grade of art has in it
something irreducible, which is one man's
alone. That something he may copyright
unless there is a restriction in the words of the
n256 Holmes was prepared to cast a
wide net to recognize tiny bits of [*352]
individual personalities: "Personality always
contains something unique. It expresses its
singularity even in handwriting. . . ." n257
Perhaps Bleistein marks only a momentary
flirtation with the personality justification.
Indeed, it is the Supreme Court's only
intellectual property opinion that uses the
word "personality" as a juridically significant
concept. There are few cases inheriting -- and
explicitly averring -- Holmes' reasoning. n258
Yet both the notions it exorcised from
American law and the notions it enshrined are
requirement as too high a threshold for
copyright. Such a requirement would have
limited property protection to those few works
in which it is clearly evident that the work
came from a particular personality, and was of
such a nature that most other personalities
could not have created it. Commercial art or
realist art would be left unprotected under this
standard because it lends itself to almost
mechanical, automatic production by any Page 43
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * techniquely skilled artisan, and contains little
indication of the creator's personal expression.
Creations reflecting an easily recognizable
personality expression would be protected or
at least eligible for protection.
Additionally, the "great art" requirement
implicitly included a social judgment of the
value or worth of the creation. Lowering this
standard to a "modest grade of art"
meant a shift in focus from society's judgment
of an object's worth to a subjective, personal
judgment of that worth. Shifting from an
artistic merit standard (which demands more
"objective" uniqueness) to the Bleistein test
grants protection to more expressions of
The Bleistein standard arguably is no more
connected to personality than are the patent
law standards of "uniqueness" and "novelty."
The Supreme Court has never squarely
addressed this question.
n260 Still, the
language in copyright cases suggests that
courts are recognizing something besides the
novelty of a previously unknown technology.
In the nineteenth-century case of Burrow-Giles
Lithographic Co. v. Sarony n261 the Supreme
Court held that a [*353] photograph may be
copyrighted if it is "an original work of art."
n262 More recently, the Court generously
found that "those aspects of [President Ford's
memoirs] . . . that display the stamp of the
author's originality" were protected. n263
Holmes' "irreducible something" has
become "[t]he author . . . contributing
something 'recognizably his own'" n264 -- a
standard quite different from patent law's
strict requirement of new additions to existing
technology. Patent protection is denied to
minor advances that could be achieved by "an
ordinary mechanic acquainted with the
business" n265 or, as Judge Hand called him, "the
acquainted with all that has been published
and all that has been publicly sold." n266 In
copyright law, there is no such external
comparison; copyright is not denied because
the work could be done by some hypostated
artist or computer program capable of
"writing." The benchmark is subjective:
whether the creator has brought something
subjective to the external world. This is the
Holmesian "modest grade of art."
The "modest grade of art" standard also is
an apt characterization of trademark law.
Indeed, the history of trademarks may bear
witness to the competition between the labor
and personality justifications of intellectual
property. When the Supreme Court originally
refused to grant property status to trademarks,
it largely was because there is no apparent
labor in their creation. n267 However, if the
Court had instead adopted a modest grade of
art standard, the unique wavy script of the
Coca-Cola label or the ravenous "D"
consuming the vowels in the Dior logo surely
would have been recognized as the reflection
of an individual creator.
When protection for trademarks was
finally granted, it seemed moved by the
unseen hand of the personality justification.
The original scope of trademark protection,
both under common law n268 and the first
n269 limited protection to
"fanciful" and "arbitrary" marks. n270 Such
marks include [*354] both abstract symbols
and "words" coined to be marks, n271 as well
as words applied to objects in an arbitrary
manner, such as the "Stork Club" as a name for
n272 Arbitrary, fanciful, and
"inherently distinctive" marks n273 are the
kinds of marks that show some creativity and
personality. Labels like "Stork Club" tend to
have personal stories or inspirations behind Page 44
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * them. At the opposite end are impersonal
labels such as "Raisin-Bran" n274 and "100%
Liquid Centers," n275 labels left unprotected
because they are purely descriptive.
Trademarks are frequently justified, in the
words of one commentator, by the "consumer's
right to be told the truth." n276 The Supreme
Court itself has endorsed trademark propriety
as furthering the "consumer's [right] . . . to
purchase a given article because it was made
by a particular manufacturer." n277 However,
this justification based upon consumers' rights
is weak. A real consumer's right to the facts
would be protected by truth-in-advertising or
misrepresentation laws, not by trademark.
Trademark is a right of expression for the
manufacturer, not a right of the consumer to
receive information. n278 In fact, trademarks
fulfill the recognition aspect of the personality
theory of property by providing an important
means of securing respect and recognition to
those who originate the items bearing the
[*355] D. CIVIL RIGHTS SUPPORT FOR
A PERSONALITY JUSTIFICATION
The most frequently attempted bridge from
existing American law to more control over
intellectual property has not been civil rights,
but defamation claims. Common examples
include a playwright suing when a director
"degrades" the play, or a novelist suing the
producer when the movie script focuses on sex
and violence in a way the novel does not.
Defamation claims are perhaps the worst
method of protecting personality interests
within existing doctrine because any
eventually have to be reconciled with New York
Times v. Sullivan n279 and its progeny. n280
These cases have established rigorous
standards for proving libel and defamation in news stories and cartoons. Ultimately, they
must stand as a bulwark against finding libel
in printed material or copyrighted works in
general. It would be very odd jurisprudence
which had rigorous tests for defamation when
the defamer was using his own words, but
made it easier to show defamation when the
victim used the victim's own expression.
In place of the defamation strategy, I
suggest using two civil rights approaches to
protect intellectual property.
generally unrecognized, there are civil liberties
arguments available that functionally can
provide some "moral rights" that protect the
personality of the creator as it is manifested in
1. The Privacy Right Argument
For centuries unpublished works have
been protected by copyright, either statutorily
or under common law.
unpublished works can be explained by
economic considerations -- allowing a person
to retain the economic value in an unpublished
work until he or she chooses to exploit that
value. Yet the privacy of the individual also is
at issue. We always allow people to shape
their public images; this is part of having
private and social selves. n281 Similarly, an
author should be able to guard a work until
she is satisfied that the work warrants public
consideration. It also is possible that a person
may intend for his writings or art never to
reach the public, having created the work
solely for his private pleasure and that of his
Seeing the personality issues
involved, Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis
[*356] declared that the right to privacy
should allow a person to prevent publication
of private letters, even when the would-be
publisher was the recipient of the letters. n282 Page 45
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * Once a work has been published, the force
of the Warren-Brandeis theory seems to ebb. If
the author willingly has placed his works
before the public, how can he argue that he has
some privacy attendant to the works? One
might retort that individual privacy is not
completely abandoned by the act of
introducing a work into the public arena.
Permitting the public to see part of one's self -whether in an autobiography or a revealing
hemline -- surely does not oblige one to reveal
more of one's self. There is still the privacy
argument that no one should be forced to
reveal more than he intended to reveal.
A series of cases have recognized, as a
principle, that dissemination of a work under
the author's name and against the author's
wishes may infringe privacy rights. This
principle, however, almost invariably remains
dicta. In Shostakovich v. Twentieth Century-Fox
Film Corp. n283 the right was recognized, but
the plaintiffs did not succeed in preventing the
appearance of their names as the composers of
the music used in an anti-Soviet film because
their music already was in the public domain.
n284 In Geisel v. Poynter Products, Inc. n285
Theodor Suess Geisel could not succeed in a
privacy action against those using "Dr. Suess"
attached to toy dolls because "Dr. Suess" was
judged to be his trade name or nom de plume,
not his proper name. n286
It is instructive to note the posture of the
privacy arguments made by both Shostakovich
and Geisel. On the surface, the plaintiff in each
case claimed that public use of his name
against his will invaded his privacy.
Interestingly, this is the reverse of the right to
demand that one's name be used publicly with
The privacy argument in Shostakovich and
Geisel is only one of several distinct privacy arguments.
To explore those different
arguments it might be helpful to start with
Professor Lloyd Weinreb's suggestion that the
fourth amendment's protection extends to two
different types of privacy: "privacy by
presence" and "privacy in place." n287 Privacy
in place is the individual's [*357] privacy
interest over certain locales: homes, cars,
luggage, etc. Privacy by presence is the
individual's interest in being able to move
through public in daily life with virtual
At first glance, the privacy argument in the
Shostakovich and Geisel cases can be taken as an
argument for anonymity.
position was that even if his music was used in
the movie, he should be able to prevent use of
his name. In essence, he presented a claim to
stay out of public notice. The unauthorized
attachment of one's name to a film or to dolls
says nothing about one's private life; it reveals
no personal facts which one planned to keep
private. It is purely a matter of avoiding
The analog of an invasion of the privacy of
place is the revelation of personal facts an
individual had intended to keep private.
Indeed, revealing such personal facts often
requires an actual breach of privacy of place.
Snooping is needed to find the love letters in a
desk or the drugs in the dresser. These might
also be called attacks on our "substantive
privacy." This is not a privacy claim that one
should be able to remain unknown or
anonymous, but that substantive, personal
information which the person did not intend to
reveal should not be revealed.
Such unauthorized revelation could occur
when intellectual property is altered to reveal
compromising information about the creator -for
semi- Page 46
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * autobiographical work about a homosexual
relationship. When the author chooses not to
release the work, as with E. M. Forster's
Maurice, the privacy claim follows the
Brandeis-Warren theory regarding an author's
control over letters.
n289 But what about
when the author releases the work as a
heterosexual story, as with Edward Albee's
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? or W. Somerset
Maughm's Of Human Bondage? When a
repertory company tries to produce an all-male
version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? does
Edward Albee have a legitimate substantive
privacy claim? n290
If an author produces an edited, final draft
and someone attempts to reinstate revealing
lines previously removed by the author, the
author should possess a substantive privacy
claim against the revision. n291 Grounds for
such a claim should exist if someone rewrites
an author's work to make explicit what the
author only intimated when what was
revealed were private [*358] prejudices or life
details. Such protection, though, might create
problems. We would not want the publication
of a scholarly thesis showing how particular
themes emerge and reemerge in a writer's
work to constitute a privacy violation. How,
then, would we settle the issue of an editor
who puts explanatory notes into the original
text against the writer's wishes? It seems
innocuous to explain that "King Billy" refers to
Kaiser Wilhelm in Yeats' Lapis Lazuli, but it
could have been more harmful to add notes to
the premiere program of Berlioz's Symphonie
Fantastique describing how it embodied his
secret passion for an actress.
When Johann Strauss first released the
Emperor Waltz or Satie published his piano
piece En Habit de Cheval the ambiguities of the
respective titles were intentional. n292 Each
composer would have been outraged if someone had published an explanation of the
titles discovered from some private material of
the composer. In Strauss' case his career
prospects could have been hurt significantly,
since he had chosen a title paying homage,
albeit ambiguously, to both Kaiser Franz Josef
and Kaiser Wilhelm.
What distinguishes such revelations from
the "revelations" of a critic announcing the
"real" meaning of the title is that the
revelations discovered from the author's
private materials can be directly attributed to
the author himself. It is public revelation from
the horse's mouth shorn of the buffering effects
of intimations, third party reports, and rumors.
It is forcing the writer himself to make public
what he intended to keep private.
This should cause us to reconsider what
was at stake in the Geisel and Shostakovich
cases. These cases presented more than a claim
for anonymity and for remaining out of public
view; those claims were counterparts of the
substantive privacy we have been considering.
Edward Albee, Shostakovich, and Geisel all
opposed publication of a message that could
be mistaken as theirs.
substantive privacy concern was to prevent
publication of intimate details descriptive of
him. However, Shostakovich's and Geisel's
concerns are different. Shostakovich opposed
being identified with the substance of an antiSoviet movie. Geisel opposed being identified
with the marketing of a doll. These concerns
do not really fit a privacy argument since
nothing private is being revealed. It is a matter
of distortion. Such distortion can be attacked
through defamation doctrine, but the first
amendment might provide another means to
protect this interest.
2. The Freedom of Expression Argument Page 47
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * First amendment freedom of expression
often is portrayed as the enemy of [*359]
intellectual property rights. Proponents of
cutting back copyright protection usually
invoke free speech and the marketplace of
ideas, if not a direct appeal to the first
amendment, as a "trump" over the copyright
clause. Recent articles, typify this approach.
One argues that "[a] First Amendment defense
to [copyright] infringement actions . . . would
guarantee the free dissemination of ideas
conveyed through visual media."
Another includes a milder observation that "[o]
ur deep rooted tradition of free speech
stemming from the first amendment's mandate
requires the same balance of interests when a
creator alleges violations of his personal, rather
than pecuniary, rights." n294
While these arguments may be persuasive,
they face a potentially powerful pro-copyright
first amendment counterargument which
might be stated as follows: freedom of expression
is meaningless without assurances that the
expression will remain unadulterated. n295 Free
speech requires that speech be guaranteed
some integrity. It follows that if intellectual
property is expression, it merits the same
To better see this connection, consider the
milieu in which free speech exists. At times,
constitutional interpreters have treated free
expression as an end in itself. n296 At other
times, free speech has been viewed as a means
of furthering other goals such as democratic
n297 and market efficiency.
n298 All of these approaches require that the
speaker's audience receive his intended
message, or something approximating it. If
speech is divorced from the speaker's intent,
both market efficiency and democratic
processes are hindered. The sole justification
for free expression that seems not to require audience understanding is that speech is a
purely therapeutic activity. n299 Yet this, too,
is dubious because a speaker's ego would
hardly be [*360] reinforced if he thought the
audience did not understand him.
Any system that emphasizes that the
audience should receive the speaker's intended
message must protect the speaker's expression
from distortion. It especially must protect
expression from systematic distortion that the
speaker cannot overcome.
figures, for example, are the focus of intensive
reporting and face commensurate distortion of
But public figures
theoretically possess the means to counteract
this distortion by virtue of their status as
public figures and the accompanying access to
and ability to clarify their expressions through
When the individual is relatively powerless
vis-a-vis those who might distort his
expressions, the legal system can compensate
by creating protective mechanisms. American
libel doctrine expresses sensitivity to the
varying ability to overcome such false reports.
The public figure receives less protection than
the private person, in part, because the public
figure has greater ability to combat distortion.
Copyright protects written and artistic
expressions that generally are protected by the
first amendment. In the framework described
above, the artist or writer is the speaker, and
the issue would be his relative power vis-a-vis
the medium through which he communicates.
In the case of writers, there may be very little
opportunity to correct distortions in meaning
introduced by publishers and editors. Few of
us have the printing resources of a Random
House or The Miami Herald. We may be able to
turn to alternative publishers to print our Page 48
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * "correct" views, but even this alternative
requires the cooperation of people who still
might distort our intent. National Committee n307 touches the heart of
the matter. Although writing about access to
media, the basic concern applies to copyright: One need not turn to Soviet publishing
practices n301 to find prospects for distortion
that can interrupt the communicative link
between the person of letters and his audience.
Reader's Digest's condensed books, ABC
Television's editing, and the American
Repertory Theatre's innovative interpretations
all stand as examples of the possible
frustration of the "speaker's" intent. [I]n the absence of an effective means of
communication, the right to speak would ring
hollow indeed. And, in recognition of these
principles, we have consistently held that the
First Amendment embodies, not only the
abstract right to be free from censorship, but
also the right of an individual to utilize an
appropriate and effective medium for the
expression of his views. n308 In Gilliam v. American Broadcasting
Companies, Inc. n302 the British comedy show
Monty Python's flying Circus successfully
enjoined the ABC network [*361] from
broadcasting radically edited versions of the
Monty Python comedy programs. ABC had
removed twenty-four minutes from each
ninety-minute show. n303 The Second Circuit
found that "the truncated version at times
omitted the climax of the skits . . . and at other
times deleted essential elements in the
schematic development of a story line." n304
The court concluded: At issue is not just the right to use an
appropriate and effective medium, but also to
make a particular medium appropriate and
effective. The goal is to ensure that printed
and published materials effectively convey the
creator's expression. We therefore agree with Judge Lasker's
conclusion that the edited version broadcast by
ABC impaired the integrity of appellants' work
and represented to the public as the product of
appellants what was actually a mere caricature
of their talents. We believe that a valid cause
of action for such distortion exists and that
therefore a preliminary injunction may issue. . .
. n305 Even if I have overstated the degree of
distortion that occurs or is likely to occur,
commentators indicate that the changing
conditions of the information era will place an
increasingly higher premium on the free flow
of ideas [*362] and a commensurate pressure
to reduce copyright protection. n309 Writing
twenty years ago Benjamin Kaplan accurately
summarized this view: "as the imperium in
communications passes from books to
electronic manifestations, as the 'Gutenberg
galaxy' decays, not only is the relationship
between author and audience radically
changed but the author's pretentions to
individual ownership and achievement are at a
discount." n310 Cases of this sort presently are treated as
contract disputes or matters to be decided
under equitable principles,
n306 but they
could be collected and made the building
materials for a first amendment claim built into
copyright protection. Justice Brennan's dissent
in Columbia Broadcasting System v. Democratic The notions of individual creativity and
personal achievement in writing and the arts
risk replacement by an attitude that ideas are
just plucked from the air by anyone. This is
the manna-from-heaven mentality that earlier I
characterized as antithetical to the labor theory
of intellectual property. It is not difficult to see Page 49
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * how, at its extreme, it also is at odds with the
personality theory. Some reduction in the
perceived personal achievement of producing
a copyrighted work need not spell the end of
copyright protection any more than this
attitude toward scientists has caused us to
Such a deterioration in the perception of
individual achievement is less probable than
the rise of a countervailing attitude -- what
Stephen Stewart calls "consumer politics"
n311 -- demanding the greatest supply of
copyright material at the lowest cost, no matter
what the long-term effects. New technology
tends to fuel this new demand by eliminating
impediments to infringement. Video tapes of
movies, for example, are copied easily whereas
films can be copied only with great difficulty.
A problem is developing further on the
horizon as libraries and individuals come to
depend on on-line or stored data computer
systems for access to what presently are
printed materials. In such systems, undetected
alteration of texts can occur much more readily
than presently possible.
computer user can change a single computer
file, or an unknown central authority could
rewrite everyone's version of a text with an
efficiency that might have dazzled Hitler's
With Orwellian humor,
Harvard law students a few years ago
produced a campus musical on a legal
totalitarian world run by a vanguard of Critical
Legal Studies scholars bolstering their control
by changing precedents in LEXIS as the need
The rise of the printing press actually
strengthened the author's ability to protect his
work. n312 By centralizing the reproduction
process, the printing press permits the author
to deal with one person at one time, to insure
the [*363] integrity of the text. Computerized systems offer both increased centralization and
forcing the author to do more on-going
surveillance. After a publisher has printed a
book, the author can rest tranquil if he is
satisfied with the text. Authors will rest less
comfortably when their works are published
on a computerized databank that at any time
can be centrally altered. n312
New technology also raises new economic
concerns that may increase the need for
protection of the expression. Historically, the
unauthorized publisher faced an unprofitable
environment. First, the pirate faced publishing
costs similar to those of the legitimate
publisher -- fixed costs that far exceeded the
cost of royalty payments avoided by piracy.
This meant that the pirate's ability to
underprice authorized publishers was limited
to his savings in royalties not paid.
Furthermore, the original publisher usually
enjoyed a market-introduction advantage.
These "barriers to entry" have been steadily
eroded by developments in the past decades.
Scanning devices allow the pirate to create
computer files of a book directly from an
authorized copy, without retyping the text
manually. This lowers the pirate's production
costs and diminishes the time advantage
enjoyed by the authorized publisher. Desktop
printers allow nearly anyone to produce high
quality reproductions of (possibly altered)
texts, logos, and insignias.
n313 The less
sophisticated pirate might discover that these
days it is frequently cheaper to photocopy a
book than to buy a published copy. This is
especially true with hardbound books of 300
pages or less.
We know that the author has an interest in
preventing such activities. Society's interest in
preventing distortions and preserving original
forms is less obvious. As Roberta Kwall Page 50
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * writes, "[p]rotection for creators' personal
rights . . . enables society to preserve the
integrity of its cultural heritage. The public's
right to enjoy the fruits of a creator's labors in
original form and to learn cultural heritage
from such creations has no time limit." n314
The preservation of cultural works has
become increasingly important to [*364] all
modern societies, but what counts as effective
preservation varies with the cultural object. It
is not enough to preserve music scores in a
library basement if no one plays them or no
one knows the tempo at which they should be
played. The level or degree to which an
original will be preserved is proportional to
available resources, but our society of relative
abundance should preserve the original form
of a work so that it may contribute effectively
to our on-going cultural discourse.
A system that actively protects expression
guarantees that the most radical and
unconventional voices will survive. n315 The
less respect a system accords particular
expressions, the more likely that those
expressions will disappear or will be altered to
fit conventional thinking. Even if the quantity
of expression remains the same, the content
may be pasteurized into a dull conformity.
n316 Protection of expressive integrity
advances systemic evolution by countering the
conformist pressures that befall unusual
A strict Darwinian marketplace of ideas
might serve as a foundation to oppose legal
protection for the content of expressions. In
such a view, valuable ideas and expressions
will always survive because value is an
evolutionary armor. Ideas that are likely to die
should not be protected because they have
inferior value. In this Darwinian vision, ideas
adapt to win over the world or at least to survive. Changes, or "mutations," increase the
longevity and usefulness of the idea or
Yet even a marketplace of ideas calls for
some limited protection of expression because
of market imperfections. For a new product's
value to be tested properly it must cross some
threshold of available outlets, visibility, and
time on the market. A passing sense of fashion
might destroy an expression that, with time,
otherwise would establish itself in the market.
Perhaps the market is actually very imperfect.
Society often does not recognize a good idea
for decades because of tremendous inertia in
the realm of societal beliefs and values. The
marketplace's evaluation of truth and value in
ideas might work so slowly that we would
want to compensate by requiring at least a
generation to pass before discarding or altering
an idea. Such a system would result [*365] in
wider social interest in protecting the integrity,
or "personality," in expressions.
Twenty years ago, in a lecture at Columbia
Law School, Benjamin Kaplan applied the
pragmatist's lens to intellectual property and
concluded as follows:
Examining the view from the top of the
hill, I find one temptation easy to resist, and
that is to sum up copyright with just the word
"property" or "personality" or any one of the
other essences to which scholars, foreign and
domestic, have been trying to reduce the
subject. . . . [C]haracterizations in grand terms
then seem of little value: we may as well go
directly to the policies actuating or justifying
the particular determinations. n317
This Article has looked to the social
policies and the judicial determinations
underlying our system of intellectual property,
but it has done so while testing two grand Page 51
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * characterizations. There is a purpose to such
characterizations. Husserl once observed that
"tradition" meant only that the particulars of
the past had been forgotten. Of course, it is
inevitable that the details of the past will be
lost. That means that we have a choice
between unreflective tradition and grand
theories; I find the latter a preferable way to
capture and condense a history. The grand
thoroughly than the tradition, as it is used as a
guide for new situations.
Both of the grand theories for intellectual
property -- labor and personality -- have their
own strengths and weaknesses. The labor
justification cannot account for the idea whose
inception does not seem to have involved
labor; the personality theory is inapplicable to
valuable innovations that do not contain
elements of what society might recognize as
alienation, while the labor explanation may
have to shuffle around Locke's non-waste
At the same time, the two justification seem
to apply more readily to intellectual property
than to the property they are usually called
upon to legitimate. The Lockean labor theory
applies more easily because the common of
ideas seems inexhaustible.
personality theory applies more easily because
intellectual products, even the most technical,
seem to result from the individual's mental
processes. As for Hegel's interests in using
property rights to secure recognition for the
individual, intellectual property rights are a
powerful instrument to this end because the res
is not merely seized by the individual, but
rather it is a product of the individual. Earlier I suggested that the personality
theory might justify rights to protect [*366]
one's private property without justifying rights
to alienate that property. I must add, as a
possible corollary, that the labor justification,
with its emphasis on value maximization,
might legitimate alienation and value
exchange without safeguarding rights to keep
particular objects merely as "possessions." In
this way, the two theories may compensate for
each other's weaknesses.
There are two reasons to seek out such
grand generalizations to explain the social
institution of intellectual property. The first is
that "labor" and "individuality" have much
more populist appeal than "property." To
return full circle, rights to labor and rights to
individual expression do have much more of a
siren's call than property rights. The second
reason, applicable to all social institutions, is
that we cannot avoid general characterizations.
Our only course is to face such generalizations
squarely and assemble them consciously.
n1 The Declaration of Independence para. 1
n2 The heralding article on this subject is
Reich, The New Property, 73 YALE L.J. 733
(1964); see also Goldberg v. Kelly, 387 U.S. 254,
264 (1970) (finding sufficient private interest in
welfare payments to warrant due process
protections in termination cases).
n3 408 U.S. 564, 577 (1972).
n4 See generally G. HEGEL, PHILOSOPHY
OF RIGHT PP41-45 (T.M. Knox trans. 1967)
(1821) (individual demonstrates ownership of
property by imposing his will on it and
thereby "occupying" it); Stillman, Property,
Freedom, and Individuality in Hegel's and Marx's Page 52
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * Political Thoughts, in PROPERTY, NOMOS
XXII, at 130, 134 (J. Pennock & J. Chapman eds.
1980) (same); see also sources cited infra note
n5 Professor Richard Rorty argues that
"mirror imagery" has been the foundation for
the Cartesian and Kantian philosophical
traditions. R. RORTY, PHILOSOPHY AND
THE MIRROR OF NATURE 12 (1979). Rorty
probably would not object to the mutual
reinforcement of justification and law, but
would probably claim this work is more
analytic -- and flawed -- as "an attempt to find
nonhistorical conditions of . . . [an] historical
development." Id. at 9. Professor Laurence
Tribe has also used the mirror image to
condemn the Supreme Court's narrow
interpretation of the equal protection clause in
CONSTITUTIONAL CHOICES 238-45 (1985);
Tribe, The Supreme Court in the Mirror of Justice,
4 JUST. DEPT. WATCH 1 (1981).
n6 P. J. PROUDHON, WHAT IS
AN INQUIRY INTO THE
GOVERNMENT 11-12 (B. R. Tucker trans.
1966) (Paris 1840).
n7 Marx quickly grasped the fallacy of
Proudhon's position. See Marx, On Proudhon,
reprinted in 2 KARL MARX AND FREDERICK
ENGELS, SELECTED WORKS 25-26 (U.S.S.R.
n8 See E. BURKE, Reflections on the
Revolution in France, in 2 THE WORKS OF
EDMUND BURKE 277, 324 (George Bell &
Sons pub. 1905) ("property . . . tends the most
to the perpetuation of society itself"). Hegel
similarly advocated an important role in social
stability for the landed class. HEGEL, supra
note 4, P313 (a chamber of landed gentry "is a
surer guarantee for ripeness of decision and it obviates the accidential character which a
snap-decision has and which a numerical
majority may acquire"). Hegel emphasized the
independence as their virtues in government.
n9 See E. BURKE, supra note 8, at 316
("Whenever the supreme authority is vested in
a body so composed, it must eventually
produce the consequences of supreme
authority placed in hands of men not taught
habitually to respect themselves; who could
not be expected to bear with moderation . . . a
power, which they themselves . . . must be
surprised to find in their hands.").
n10 Id. at 317.
n11 See id. at 324 ("[t]he power of
perpetuating our property in our families is
one of the most valuable and interesting
circumstances belonging to it"); see also G.
HEGEL, supra note 4, P178 ("The natural
dissolution of the family by the death of the
parents, particularly the father, has inheritance
as its consequence so far as the family capital is
In the eighth and ninth books of the
Republic, Plato avers that the best government
is an aristocratic state led by a propertied class.
Yet the drive for property eventually produces
an undesirable oligarchy with a propertyless
underclass: "such a state is not one, but two
states, the one of poor, the other of rich men;
and they are living on the same spot and
always conspiring against one another."
PLATO, REPUBLIC 303 (B. Jowett trans. 1986).
n12 Lincoln applied for and was granted
U.S. Patent No. 6,469 (May 22, 1849).
n13 Lewis (1845-1890) was a black
neoclassical busts and medallions. She is an Page 53
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * especially apt example because royalties from
copies of her busts supported her move to
Rome, where she established her studio. V.
PORTER, MODERN NEGRO ART ART 58
(1943). Several of her works survive in the
n14 UNESCO, THE ABC OF COPYRIGHT
n15 B. KAPLAN, AN UNHURRIED VIEW
OF COPYRIGHT 2-9 (1967).
n16 Denmark and Norway are the only
countries that have granted perpetual rights in
intellectual property. The ordinance which
created these rights was somewhat less
It was adopted in 1741 and
repealed in 1814. UNESCO, supra note 14, at
n17 Copyright provisions are codified at 17
U.S.C. § § 101-914 (1982 & Supp. IV 1986). The
Patent Act is codified at 35 U.S.C. § § 1-376
(1982 & Supp. IV 1986). Federal trademark law
is codified at 15 U.S.C. § § 1051-1127 (1982 &
Supp. IV 1986). Trade secret protection is left
to the states. See Kewanee Oil Co. v. Bicron
Corp., 416 U.S. 470, 493 (1974) ("Congress, by
its silence over these many years, has seen the
wisdom of allowing the states to enforce trade
n18 Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of
1984, 17 U.S.C. § § 901-912 (Supp. IV 1986).
n19 17 U.S.C. § 103.
n20 248 U.S. 215, 236-42 (1918) (one who
expends time and resources for purposes of
lucrative publication has a quasi-property
interest in the results of the enterprise as a
against a rival in the same business;
appropriation of those results to the damage of
one and the profit of another constitutes unfair
competition). n21 See infra notes 217-20 (discussing
concept of persona and property interest in
n22 There are two international copyright
conventions; a nation may belong to both
without conflict. The Universal Copyright
Convention, signed by the United States and
more than fifty other countries, provides for
reciprocity of rights extended to nationals, and
also provides some substantive protections,
including protection for "not less than the life
of the author and twenty-five years." Universal
Copyright Convention, July 24, 1971, art. IV, §
2(a), 25 U.S.T. 1341, 1347, T.I.A.S. No. 7868,
1347, 943 U.N.T.S. 178, 196.
Convention, which the United States ratified in
1988, has over seventy signatories and
requirements, such as protection "for the life of
the author and fifty years." The Berne
Convention for the Protection of Literary and
Artistic Works, July 14, 1967, art. 7, § 1, 828
U.N.T.S. 221, 235 revised July 24, 1971, reported
in WORLD INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
MONTHLY REVIEW OF THE WORLD
ORGANIZATION 1971, at 135, 137 [hereinafter
Berne Convention]; see The Berne Convention
Implementation Act of 1988, Pub. L. No. 100568, 100th Cong., 2d Sess. (Oct. 31, 1988).
There are also two major patent treaties,
both of which the United States has signed.
The Paris Convention for the Protection of
Industrial Property, July 14, 1967, 21 U.S.T.
1583, T.I.A.S. No. 6923, 828 U.N.T.S. 305
(entered into force April 26, 1970); and The
Patent Cooperation Treaty, opened for signature
June 19, 1970, 28 U.S.T. 7645, T.I.A.S. No. 8733
(entered into force Jan. 24, 1978). Page 54
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * n23 See generally S. Levitsky, COPYRIGHT,
DEFAMATION, AND PRIVACY IN SOVIET
CIVIL LAW xi-xiii (1979) (citing Soviet Union's
acceptance in 1973 of the Universal Copyright
Convention); Kase, Copyright in Czechoslovakia - The New Copyright Statute of 1965, 14 BULL.
COPYRIGHT SOC. U.S. 28(1966) (reviewing
history of copyright in Czechoslovakia);
Pavelic, The Protection of Private Rights in a
Socialist State: Recent Developments in Yugoslav
Copyright Law, 14 HARV. INT'L. L.J. 111, 11726 (1973) (Yugoslavian copyright law expands
protection of authors' rights). Although China
is not a signatory of any international
intellectual property conventions, in April
1985, it promulgated its own patent law
drafted with the aid of American jurists. See
SECTION OF PATENT, TRADEMARK, AND
ASSOCIATION, 1987 COMMITTEE REPORTS
n24 See Enforcement News, IP ASIA, Apr. 22,
1988, at 30-31 (noting Taiwan's persistent
enforcement problems); Taiwan: Licensing
Foreign Trademarks, IP ASIA, Apr. 22, 1988, at 2
(Taiwan's pronounced government policy is to
n25 For example, patents are granted for
the same range of devices and processes, with
the exception of chemical substances, in South
Korea as in the United States. Some believe
this exception reflects a fear that patents in this
area would facilitate foreign monopolization of
Korea's fledgling fertilizer, pharmaceutical,
and petrochemical industries. Min & West,
The Korean Regime for Licensing and Protecting
Intellectual Property, 19 INT'L LAW. 545, 557
government has tied trademark protection to
the achievement of a prescribed level of
average per capita income in the country. See
Krause, Am Cham Seeks Bold Shifts in Investment Rules, BUS. KOREA, Feb. 1984, at 70 (although
Korea signed Paris agreement governing
government has indicated it will not be able to
enforce strict compliance until per capita
income reaches $ 5,000).
countries have joined to expressly isolate
foreign trademarks, patents, and royalties and
subject them to a common treatment. See
UNITED NATIONAL COMMISSION ON
TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT, POLICIES
RELATING TO TECHNOLOGY OF THE
COUNTRIES OF THE ANDEAN PACT (1971).
In the 1988 Montreal GATT Conference, Brazil
and India opposed more international
intellectual property protection in the fear that
it would slow down the flow of advanced
technology to combat social problems in the
Third World. Farnsworth, Brazil and India Fight
New Copyright Rules, N.Y. Times, Dec. 7, 1988,
at 48, col. 1. BrazBrazil has consistently denied
protection to new drugs so as to Brazil has
consistently denied protection to new drugs so
as to increase their availability to the poor. See
Whose idea is it anyway?, THE ECONOMIST,
Nov. 12, 1988, at 73.
n26 See Hughes, Between Art and Law,
Harvard Crimson, Jan. 21, 1985, at 3, col. 1.
n27 Id. Endgame's stage direction called for
a bare, grey stage. The Cambridge production
set the play in a gutted, abandoned Boston
subway station. In 1988, Beckett successfully
opposed efforts by the Comedie-Francaise in
Paris to do a production of Endgame on a set
bathed in pink light. See Int'l Herald Tribune,
Oct. 14, 1988, at 18, col. 8.
n28 1 P.D. ROSENBERG, PATENT LAW
FUNDAMENTALS § 1.03 (2d ed. 1985).
n29 17 U.S.C. § 107 (1982).
n30 Gayler v. Wilder, 51 U.S. (10 How.) 477,
497 (1850). This exception, of course, is not Page 55
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * useful to research laboratories that are
pursuing developments which may have
laboratories because the patenting of certain
cell lines prevents other research labs from
using these types of cells in their research.
Weiner, Universities, Professors, and Patents: A
Continuing Controversy, TECH. REV., Feb./Mar.
1986, at 32, 42-43.
n31 U.S. CONST. art. I, § 8, cl. 8.
n32 See J. LOCKE, Second Treatise of
Government, § § 138-40, in TWO TREATISES
OF GOVERNMENT (P. Laslett rev. ed. 1963)
(3d ed. 1698).
n33 Id. § 25.
n34 This suggests to me a God who is
slightly myopic, less than benevolent, or
himself enjoying a practical joke. For Locke,
this was because of Man's fall. Id. With respect
to Locke's position that the common is a gift
from God, Robert Paul Wolff has suggested
that "[i]f we secularize this theory, it is not
difficult to see that it is really based on the
supposition that property is originally social or
collective. . . . The opposite view, that property
is originally individual, is completely contrary
to Locke's orientation. . . ." Wolff, Robert
Nozick's Derivation of the Minimal State, in
READING NOZICK 101-02 n.9 (J. Paul ed.
1981). I disagree that secularizing Locke's
theory means property is originally social. In
fact, I see no reason why Wolff would think
that this is the case and I think that a social
undermined Locke's position. See Hamilton,
Property -- According to Locke, 41 YALE L.J. 864,
867-68 (1932) (Locke's theory of property based
on popular perception in seventeenth century
that all property derives from "magnanimity of
a bountiful creator"; government established by compact can have no other goal than to
preserve possessory rights of citizens without
doing prejudice to property rights of others in
same natural property); see generally Rowen, A
Second Thought on Locke's First Treatise, 17 J.
HIST. IDEAS 130 (1956).
n35 J. LOCKE, supra note 32, § 33.
n36 Id. § 27. See generally Mautner, Locke on
QUARTERLY 259, 260 (1982) (claiming
"enough and as good" condition not actually a
premise in Locke's argument). Although some
scholars agree with Mautner, most seem to
treat the proposition as a central premise of
MACPHERSON, THE POLITICAL THEORY
OF POSSESSIVE INDIVIDUALISM: HOBBES
TO LOCKE 201 (1962); G. PARRY, JOHN
Perhaps even Mautner
implicity retreats from saying the "enough and
as good" condition is not a premise by
admitting that Locke makes an "assumption of
original abundance." Mautner, supra, at 260.
n37 J. LOCKE, supra note 32, § 37.
n38 Id. § § 36, 37 & 41. An interesting
problem raised by these examples is the
geographical consideration in determining
what counts as "enough and as good." For
example, the Treaty of Paris left the new
United States with the unsettled Northwest
Territory (which became Ohio, Indiana,
Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin). Does this
mean the enough and as good condition would
be satisfied for those within the Territory?
Would it be satisfied for everyone within the
immigration? Would it be satisfied for all
within the English-speaking world?
n39 Letter from Richard Epstein to the
author (Aug. 28, 1985) (copy on file at
Georgetown Law Journal). Page 56
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * n40 Epstein, Possession as the Root of Title, 13
GA. L.J. 1221, 1227 (1979).
n41 J. LOCKE, supra note 32, § 27, cited in
Epstein, supra note 40, at 1227.
n42 Epstein, supra note 40, at 1227.
n43 By definition, "possession" involves a
relationship which includes domination. The
possessor controls his possession. He is dominant
over it. The mind-body connection, however,
is not based upon unilateral domination.
While it is said that the mind "controls" the
body, we now know that the symbiosis
between the two renders such a statement
inaccurate. We cannot say that the mind
controls the body any more than that the body
controls the mind. There is an integration of
the two -- or perhaps the concept of two
separate entities is itself misleading -- but there
is no possessory relationship.
n44 J. LOCKE, supra note 32, § 37.
n47 Id. § 50.
n48 Thomas Scanlon seems to consider this
consent critical because "the original moral
foundation for property rights is no longer
valid" once we have a money economy.
Scanlon, Nozick on Rights, Liberty, and Property,
in READING NOZICK, supra note 34, at 107,
126. But Nozick appears to disagree. See R.
NOZICK, ANARCHY, STATE AND UTOPIA
18 (1974) (social contract not necessary for free
exchange of goods); see also Rapaczynski,
Locke's Conception of Property and the Principle of
Sufficient Reason, 42 HIST. IDEAS 305, 306
(1981) ("Locke attempts to provide a
justification of property which would make
ownership independent of any explicit or
implicit social consent."). n49 Such an alloy exists if people were to
give their tacit consent to the distribution of
property because (1) they believed that the
present distribution arose from an original
distribution based on the labor justification
and (2) they believed that the labor justification
was indeed valid.
n50 See Wheaton v. Peters, 33 U.S. (8 Pet.)
590, 637 (1834) ("a literary man is as much
entitled to the product of his labour as any
other member of society"). In The Trademark
Cases, 100 U.S. 82 (1879), the Supreme Court
used a labor model to hold that trademarks
were unprotected. "The writings which are to
be protected are the fruits of intellectual labor."
Id. at 94. The Court held that the trademark is
unprotected because it does not require "any
work of the brain . . . no fancy or imagination,
no genius, no laborious thought." Id.; see also
Goldstein v. California, 412 U.S. 546, 561 (1973)
("writings . . . may be interpreted to include
any physical rendering of the fruits of creative
intellectual or aesthetic labor").
n51 Baird, Common Law Intellectual Property
and the Legacy of International News Service v.
Associated Press, 50 U. CHI. L. REV. 411, 413
n52 Id. at 415.
n53 J. LOCKE, supra note 32, § 27.
n55 Becker, The Labor Theory of Property
Acquisition, 73 J. PHIL. 653, 655 (1976).
n56 J. LOCKE, supra note 32, § 34.
n57 Minogue, The Concept of Property and its
Contemporary Significance, in PROPERTY,
NOMOS XXII, supra note 4, at 3, 10.
n58 David Ellerman argues that the "labor
theory of property has throughout its history
been entwined with and often confused with Page 57
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * the labor theory of value. . . . The admixture of
the two labor theories [was] present even in
Locke." Ellerman, Property and the Theory of
Value, 16 PHIL. F. 293, 294 (1985). Ellerman
writes of the confusion of normative
propositions, but the same confusion can occur
with the consequentialist arguments.
example, should we use property to give
people incentives, or should we use some other
measure of value?
n59 347 U.S. 201 (1954).
n60 Id. at 219 (emphasis added).
n61 U.S. CONST. art. I, § 8, cl. 8; see also
Grant V. Raymond, 31 U.S. (6 Pet.) 218, 241-42
(1832) (Marshall, C.J.) (copyright and patent
clause indicates that purpose of patent statute
is to stimulate invention).
n62 A. LINCOLN, Second Lecture on
Discoveries and Inventions, in 3 THE
COLLECTED WORKS OF ABRAHAM
LINCOLN 356, 363 (R.P. Basler ed. 1953).
n63 See Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard
Broadcasting Co., 433 U.S. 562, 576 (1976) ("The
protection [of publicity] provides an economic
incentive . . . to make the investment required
to produce a performance. . . . This same
consideration underlies the patent and
copyright laws long enforced by this Court.");
Goldstein v. California, 412 U.S. 546, 555 (1973)
("to encourage people to devote themselves to
intellectual and artistic creation, Congress may
guarantee to authors and inventors a reward");
cf. United States v. Paramount Pictures, 334 U.S.
131, 158 (1948) ("It is said that reward to the
author or artist serves to induce release to the
public of the products of his creative genius.").
n64 Easterbrook, Foreword: The Court and
the Economic System in The Supreme Court 1983
Term, 98 HARV. L. REV. 4, 21-29 (1984). n65 Jurists have also recognized the
enjoyable, personal value of creating
intellectual works. Justice Holmes spoke of
"the secret isolated joy of the thinker, who
knows that, a hundred years after he is dead
and forgotten, men who have never heard of
him will be moving to the measure of his
thought." Address by Justice Oliver Wendell
Holmes, Harvard University (Feb. 17, 1886),
reprinted in THE MIND AND FAITH OF
JUSTICE HOLMES 33 (M. Lerner ed. 1943).
n66 P.D. ROSENBERG, supra note 28, §
n67 Becker, The Moral Basis of Property
Rights, IN PROPERTY, NOMOS XXII, supra
note 4, at 187, 193.
n68 347 U.S. 201 (1954).
n69 Id. at 219.
N70 U.S. CONST. art. I, § 8, cl. 8.
n71 248 U.S. 215 (1918).
n72 Id. at 234-35. "We need spend no time .
. . upon the general question of property in
news . . . since it seems to us the case must turn
upon the question of unfair competition in
n73 See generally 1 D.S.
PATENTS § § 4.01-4.04 (1988). CHISUM, n74 15 F. Cas. 1018 (C.C.D. Mass. 1819) (No.
n75 Id. at 1014.
PATENT, TRADEMARK AND RELATED
STATE DOCTRINES 492 (1981).
n77 See Brenner v. Manson, 383 U.S. 519,
533-36 (1965) (requiring showing of positive
social benefit to satisfy utility requirement). Page 58
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * n78 E.g., Connell v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 559
F. Supp. 229, 245 (N.D. Ala. 1983), aff'd,
modified, vacated in part, 722 F.2d 1542 (Fed. Cir.
n79 E.g., Brown-Bridge Mills, Inc. v. Eastern
Fine Paper, Inc. 700 F.2d 759, 763 (1st Cir. 1983).
n80 See 35 U.S.C. § 103 (1982) (patent
granted if advancement not "obvious at the
time of the invention . . . to a person having
ordinary skill in the art"). This standard, now
statutorily embodied, originated in Hotchkiss v.
Greenwood, 52 U.S. (11 How.) 248, 265-67 (1850),
in which the substitution of porcelain
doorknobs for wooden knobs was considered
too obvious for a patent.
n81 Bennett v. Halahan, 285 F.2d 807, 811
(C.C.P.A. 1961); Oetiker v. Jurid Werke GmbH.,
209 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 809, 824 (D.D.C. 1981).
n82 See Graham v. Horn Deere, 383 U.S. 1, 25
n83 P. D. ROSENBERG, supra note 28, §
8.03, at 8-8.
n84 Such an invention might indirectly
produce value for society by improving a
technology that, after further research and
improvement, eventually surpasses existing
n85 For chemical compounds, there is a
strict utility requirement: "Mere usefulness in
further chemical research will not suffice to
satisfy the utility requirement. . . . [It] must
produce a useful product." P. D. ROSENBERG,
supra note 28, § 8.06, at 8-12.
n86 Id. § 2.02, at 2-4.3 to 2-4.4. Such
exclusion seems to deprive society of potential
value. Furthermore, the lack of use of a patent
may create antitrust problems. See Continental
Paper Bag Co. v. Eastern Paper Bag Co., 210 U.S.
405, 424-25 (1908). n87 Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 408(a)
(1982) (allowing copyright registration "[a]t
any time during the subsistence of copyright in
any published or unpublished work"); cf.
National Conference of Bar Examiners v.
Multistate Legal Studies, 692 F.2d 478, 480 (7th
Cir. 1982) (upholding constitutionality of
copyright protection for standardized tests that
are never published in normal sense and only
disseminated in a control environment), cert.
denied, 464 U.S. 814 (1983).
n88 106 F.2d 45 (2d Cir. 1939), aff'd, 309 U.S.
n89 Id. at 50 (stars were Joan Crawford and
n90 Id. at 48; see also Haas v. Leo Feist, Inc.,
234 F. 105 (S.D.N.Y. 1916) (Hand, J.) (awarding
100% of the profits to the defendant for a song
which copied only the refrain melody from the
plaintiff and was a success clearly because of
its patriotic lyrics).
n91 Compare Gorman, Copyright Protection
for the Collection and Representation of Facts, 76
HARV. L. REV. 1569, 1575-76 (1963) (urging
courts to narrow standard of copyright
infringement) with B. KAPLAN, supra note 15,
at 63 (arguing for more stringent standards for
issuance of copyrights).
n92 B. KAPLAN, supra note 15, at 71
(apportionment schemes "seduce" judges into
granting partial relief to plaintiffs in "dubious"
n93 For a biography, see L. EGAN,
THOMAS EDISON (1987).
n94 W. FAULKNER, SARTORIS (1929).
ABSALOM! (1936). ABSALOM, n96 In a 1986 book, Umberto Eco describes
the medieval view that an artist conceives his Page 59
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * art before executing it. Eco criticizes that view
precisely on this issue: "[T]here [was] no sign
of awareness that art, nourished by intellectual
insight and skilled craftsmanship, involves an
manipulations do not follow the conception of
the intellect, but are the intellect conceiving
something by making it." U. ECO, ART AND
BEAUTY IN THE MIDDLE AGES 111 (1986)
(emphasis in original).
n97 Remark of Hadi Abu Shakra, LL.M.
candidate, Harvard Law School (May 1985).
n98 W. V. O. Quine recently put it another
way: "If the fantasy of the UNIVERSAL
LIBRARY were realized, literary creativity
would likewise reduce to discovery: the
author's book would await him on the shelf."
W. V. QUINE, QUIDDITIES 39 (1987).
n99 Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 102(a)
(1976) (limiting copyright protection to works
"fixed in any tangible medium of expression").
By contrast, West German law might protect
even the fleeting form of spoken words. 6 IIC
ANTITRUST LAWS 111, 132-33 (Beier,
Schricker, & Fikentscher eds. 1983).
n100 293 F. Supp. 130 (S.D.N.Y. 1968).
n101 Id. at 144.
n102 17 U.S.C. § 102 (1976) (granting
copyright protection to "original works of
authorship fixed in any tangible medium" but
not to "any idea . . . embodied in such works").
n103 E.g., Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.
v. MCA, Inc., 715 F.2d 1327, 1329 n.3 (9th Cir.
n104 E.g. Reyher v. Children's Television
Workshop, 533 F.2d 87, 90 (2d Cir.), cert. denied,
429 U.S. 980 (1976); Universal Athletic Sales Co. v. Salkeid, 511 F.2d 904, 906 (3d Cir.), cert.
denied, 423 U.S. 863 (1975); Anselh v. Puritan
Pharmaceutical Co., 61 F.2d 131, 137-38 (8th
Cir.), cert. denied, 287 U.S. 666 (1932).
n105 Sid and Marty Krofft Television v.
McDonald's Corp., 562 F.2d 1157, 1168 (9th Cir.
1977) (dicta) (Michaelangelo's David deserves
protection as expression while idea of statue of
nude male does not).
n106 Scenes a faire are elements (e.g., scene,
character, plot component) of a genre of
literature so common that they are customary.
For example, in space-voyage science fiction, a
battle scene and a non-human character would
probably qualify as scenes a faire.
n107 Reyher, 533 F.2d at 91 (scenes a faire not
entitled to copyright protection); Alexander v.
Haley, 460 F.Supp. 40, 45 (S.D.N.Y. 1978)
(plaintiff may not include scenes a faire as
elements of copyright infringement).
n108 Krofft Television, 562 F.2d at 1167; see
Roth Greeting Cards v. United Cards Co., 429 F.2d
1106, 1110 (9th Cir. 1970) (copyright violation
when "total concept and feel" of defendant's
greeting cards same as those of plaintiff;
similarities include characters and mood
portrayed, combination of artwork and
message, and arrangement of words on cards).
n109 See Lee v. Runge, 404 U.S. 887, 890-93
(1971) (Douglas, J., dissenting from denial of
certiorari) (first amendment questions raised if
Congress' power over copyrights construed to
allow grant of monopolies over ideas rather
than merely over means of expressing ideas).
n110 Krofft Television, 562 F.2d at 1170; see
also Triangle Publications, Inc. v. Knight-Ridder
Newspapers, Inc., 626 F.2d 1171, 1178 (5th Cir.
1980) (Brown, J., concurring) ("The ideaexpression dichotomy generally provides a Page 60
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * workable balance between copyright and free
n111 Nimmer, Does Copyright Abridge the
First Amendment Guarantees of Free Speech and
Press?, 17 U.C.L.A. L. REV. 1180 (1970).
n112 Id. at 1197-1200 (photographs of My
Lai massacre and film of John F. Kennedy's
assassination could not be censored from
public by copyright owners). An audacious
example of copyright over the expression of a
public event is the television evangelist Jimmy
Swaggart's claimed copyright over his public
confession of relations with a prostitute.
Swaggart claimed copyright in an effort to stop
the Cincinnati Opera from using part of the
confession in an advertisement for the opera
"Susannah." Int'l Herald Trib., June 18-19, 1988,
at 14, col. 7.
What other reason would
Swaggart have to claim copyright than to chill
the confession's use by others?
n113 The two dichotomies may not be
completely parallel. Under present law when
"idea" and "expression" merge, the creation is
unprotected on the rationale that one could not
express the idea any other way. See 1 M.
NIMMER & D. NIMMER, NIMMER ON
COPYRIGHT § 1.10[c], 1-82 to 1-84 (1963)
[hereinafter NIMMER] (using the example of
the Vietnam War's My Lai massacre to
demonstrate that in some instances the form of
expression, e.g., photography, is essential to
convey the idea).
n114 See Krofft Television, 562 F.2d at 1169
("the intrinsic test for expression is uniquely
suited for determination by the trier of fact").
n115 See Prager, The Early Growth and
Influence of Intellectual Property, 34 J. PAT. OFF.
SOC'Y 106, 108-09 (1952) (authors, unlike
creators of tangible things, lose right to
exclusive use of words and ideas after
publication and public possession). n116 In fact, this addition to the common
pool of ideas has been recognized as part of the
"bargain" of patent law: "such additions to the
general store of knowledge are of such
importance to the public weal that the Federal
Government is willing to pay the high price of
17 years of exclusive use for its disclosure,
which disclosure, it is assumed, will stimulate
ideas and the eventual development of further
significant advances." Kewanee Oil Co. v. Bicron
Corp., 416 U.S. 470, 481 (1974). To some,
society has the better bargain: "[t]he purpose of
disclosure to the public is to catalyze other
inventors into activity. . . . The inventor makes
a truly Faustian bargain with the sovereign,
exchanging secrecy of indefinite and of
possibly perpetual duration, for ephemeral
patent rights." P. D. ROSENBERG, supra note
28, § 1.02, at 1-5.
n117 Another point is that idea X may
breathe new life into the common by making
set of ideas Y worth developing. For example,
L'Enfant's plans for Washington, D.C., made it
viable for generations of architects to develop
ideas to use the city's oddly shaped
n118 See R. NOZICK, supra note 48, at 17482 (social considerations favor establishment of
private property and a free market system
would not violate Locke's proviso that "enough
and as good" remain in the common).
n119 J. LOCKE, supra note 32, § 32.
n120 This is true even where the inventor
of the "child" holds a license to the "parent"
idea. Hence the pressure for "grant-backs" of
offspring patents to the owner of the original
patent. See 2 P. D. ROSENBERG, supra note 28,
§ 16.02 (discussing various methods for
exchanges of patent rights).
n121 In a celebrated example, Sir Ambrose
Fleming patented a vacuum tube with two Page 61
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * electrodes and Dr. Lee DeForest patented a
vacuum tube with three electrodes. Marconi
Wireless -- the holder of Fleming's patent -confessed judgment as to one of DeForest's
patents while DeForest Radio was held to have
infringed one of Fleming's patents. Marconi
Wireless Telegraph Co. v. DeForest Radio
Telephone & Telegraph Co. 236 F. 942, 943
(S.D.N.Y. 1916) (confessed judgment by
Marconi), aff'd, 243 F. 560 (2d Cir. 1917); id. at
955 (infringement found against DeForest's
company). According to Rosenberg, "[i]n most
instances wherein there are such overlapping
claims owned by different parties, each
licenses the other." P. D. ROSENBERG, supra
note 28, § 1.03, at 1-13.
n122 Parody is considered a "fair use" of
the copyrighted work and a parody's "fair use"
of an original is usually more extensive than
the "fair use" of an ostensibly rather unrelated
work. At a minimum, a parody can "conjure
up" an original for the sake of humor. See, e.g.,
Elsmere Music, Inc. v. National Broadcasting Co.,
623 F.2d 252, 253 n.1 (2d Cir. 1980) (per curiam)
(Saturday Night Live transformation of song I
Love New York into I Love Sodom was fair use).
A parody threatening to displace the original
within the market may infringe. See Warner
Bros., Inc. v. American Broadcasting Co., 654 F.2d
204, 208 (2d Cir. 1981) (to determine whether
similarity between original work and parody
constitutes "substantial and hence infringing
similarity," court must decide whether
similarities are "something more than mere
generalized ideas or themes").
n123 At the same time, the purported
parody -- no longer recognized as such -- is not
"complimenting" the original as a parody
normally does by indicating that the original
has reached a certain level of fame. n124 See R. NOZICK, supra note 48, at 17582.
n125 See id. at 180.
n126 Professor Michelman has suggested a
triumvirate of property statuses: the common,
private property and the "anticommon" -- "a
pure 'social property' regime in which everyone
has exclusive rights over every resource; or, in
other words, no one is privileged to make any
use of any resource without the unanimous
consent of everyone else." Address by
Professor Frank Michelman, 1985 American
Association of Law Schools Meeting (Jan. 1985)
(copy on file at Georgetown Law Journal). None
of Michelman's categories captures the idea
common in which anyone can enjoy free access
to all ideas without need for anyone else's
n127 O'Reilly v. Morse, 56 U.S. (15 How.) 62,
n128 Levmore, Explaining Restitution, 71
VA. L. REV. 65, 96 (1985). Levmore attributes
this reluctance to the twin reasons "that such
[lawyer's] arguments might be independently
discovered later and that contribution of any
one precedent to legal victory might be
uncertain." Id. at 96 n.72.
n129 253 F.2d 702 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 358
U.S. 816 (1958).
n130 Id. at 704.
n131 B. KAPLAN, supra note 15, at 65.
n132 Another example of the "necessary
fixture" exception to ideas that can be
privatized is the scenes a faire rule in copyright
law. See supra note 106 (discussing scenes a
faire); see also Alexander v. Haley, 460 F. Supp. 40,
45-46 (S.D.N.Y. 1978) (concept of scenes a faire
in literature on slavery protected author of
Roots from claims of copyright infringement); 3 Page 62
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * NIMMER, supra note 113, §
(Release No. 22 1988) (discussing nonliteral
similarity between works). 601 (1936); see also King-Seeley Thermos Co. v.
Aladdin Indus., 321 F.2d 577 (2d Cir. 1963) (no
exclusive right to use word "thermos"). n133 This conclusion seems to follow the
from the "algorithm" cases. Compare Gottschalk
v. Benson, 409 U.S. 63, 71-72 (1972)
(mathematical method of converting binarycoded decimals into pure binary numbers does
not qualify for protection) with In re Jones, 373
F.2d. 1007, 1014 (C.C.P.A. 1967) (disk for
mechanical conversion of analog to digital
measurements and method for using disk may
be patentable). n140 See XEROX CORP., TRADEMARK
POLICY, reprinted in Current Developments in
Trademark Law and Unfair Competition,
PRACTICING LAW INSTITUTE (1982). n134 Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. v.
MCA, Inc., 715 F.2d 1327, 1329 (9th Cir. 1983)
(vacating trial court's grant of pretrial
summary judgment for MCA, creator of
"Battlestar Galactica"). n144 Int'l News Serv. v. Associated Press, 248
U.S. 215, 218 (1918). n135 Parker v. Flook, 437 U.S. 584 (1978).
n136 Id. at 591 ("The process itself, not
merely the mathematical algorithm, must be
new and useful.").
n137 See Nichols v. Universal Pictures Corp.,
45 F.2d 119, 121 (2d Cir. 1930) (literary themes
may at some point become so generalized that
they no longer are protected), cert. denied, 282
U.S. 902 (1931).
n138 Sayre v. Moore, 102 Eng. Rep. 139, 140
(K.B. 1785), reported in Cary v. Longman, 102
Eng. Rep. 138, 139 n.(b) (K.B. 1801).
n139 This is sometimes called the "Aspirin
and Cellophane doctrine." See Bayer Co. v.
United Drug Co., 272 F. 505, 514-15 (S.D.N.Y.
1921) (L. Hand, J.) (expiration of Bayer's patent
terminated exclusive right to word "aspirin" as
trademark in direct sales to consumers);
DuPont Cellophane Co. v. Waxed Products Co., 85
F.2d 75, 80 (2d Cir.) (expiration of patent
terminated manufacturer's exclusive right to
use word "cellophane"), cert. denied, 299 U.S. n141 R. CALLMAN, THE LAW OF
UNFAIR COMPETITION AND TRADEMARK
1149-50 (2d ed. 1950).
n142 17 U.S.C. § 302(a) (1982).
n143 35 U.S.C. § 154 (1982). n145 These two images of idea-making as
individual achievement and inexorable
progress have been in tension in patent cases
when the patent's validity is in question
because of similarity to, or simple extension of,
prior art. While stressing the creativity of a
patented invention held by Marconi, Justice
Frankfurter aptly characterized the foundation
of the argument against patents:
Great inventions have always been parts of
an evolution, the culmination at a particular
moment of an antecedent process. So true is
this that the history of thought records striking
coincidental discoveries -- showing that the
new insight first declared to the world by a
particular individual was 'in the air' and ripe
for discovery and disclosure.
Marconi Wireless Co. v. U.S., 320 U.S. 1, 62
(1942) (Frankfurter, J., dissenting).
n146 R. NOZICK, supra note 48, at 181.
n148 See Marconi Wireless, 320 U.S. at 62
(Frankfurter, J., dissenting). That patent law Page 63
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * does not reflect such variations may be due to
n149 Steiner, Slavery, Socialism, and Private
Property, in PROPERTY, NOMOS XXII, supra
note 4, at 244, 251.
n150 R. NOZICK, supra note 48, at 175.
n152 See P. SAMUELSON & W.
NORDHAUS, ECONOMICS 483 (12th ed.
1985) (Pareto efficiency is achieved when one
person's utility can be increased only by
lowering the utility of another).
n153 J. RAWLS, A THEORY OF JUSTICE
n154 J. LOCKE, supra note 32, § § 46-51.
n155 R. NOZICK, supra note 48, at 176.
n156 J. LOCKE, supra note 32, § § 46-51.
n157 A third, less likely possibility is that
the idea I give my friend allows her to labor
less to survive and to loiter more. However,
this does not seem to accord with Locke's view
of human motives, for he assumed that people
will inevitably strive to accumulate material
objects. J. LOCKE, supra note 32, § 46. As
Walter Hamilton humorously observed,
"[Locke's] natural state is a curious affair,
peopled with the Indians of North America
and run by the scientific principles of his friend
Sir Isaac Newton." Hamilton, supra note 34, at
n158 This idea, of course, is elementary to
the sciences of biology and anthropology.
Biological and cultural evolution both
contribute to the understanding of new
concepts and to a species' ability to translate
these ideas into technology -- tool use. For a
general statement of this idea, see J.
BRONOWSKI, THE ASCENT OF MAN 41
[finely manipulable tools] and the use of fire is not an
isolated phenomenon [in the evolution of
man]. On the contrary, we must always
remember that the real content of evolution
(biological as well as cultural) is the
elaboration of new behaviour.").
n159 To attack the notion that there is no
intellectual property in the pre-money
economy, one might argue that we should
make a distinction between a barter economy
and a money economy. Locke does not draw
any significant distinction between the two,
but one could infer from Locke's discussion
that the barter economy is a situation in which
people are trying to acquire more of the
"useful" goods they need without doing
violence to the non-waste condition and
without accumulating non-useful goods like
gold. "First-order" bartering displays this kind
of exchange: short-lived fruits bartered for
more durable nuts. Such barters are useful
things in Locke's scheme; the person receiving
nuts avoids the non-waste condition and the
person receiving the fruits adds variety to his
Given Locke's announced antipathy
toward non-useful items that people value
(gold, silver, baubles), as soon as these items
enter the barter system, one has a money
economy: an exchange system based on an
unnatural, or at least less fundamental, secondorder of valuation.
n160 R. NOZICK, supra note 48, at 175-76.
n161 D. JOHNSTON, COPYRIGHT
HANDBOOK 32-33 (2d ed. 1982).
n162 Id.; 17 U.S.C. § § 101-104, 301(a)
(1976) (§ 104 explicitly recognizes that § § 101103 cover unpublished works).
n163 See, e.g., Roy Export Co. v. Columbia
Broadcasting System, Inc., 672 F.2d 1095, 1100-01
(2d Cir. 1982) (state law protects the owner's
work from creation through publication); Burke Page 64
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * v. National Broadcasting Co., 598 F.2d 688, 691-92
(1st Cir. 1979) (common law protects owner's
work until publication).
n164 The trademark "token use" doctrine
will be abolished after November 16, 1989, the
effective date of the Trademark Law Revision
Act of 1988. Pub. L. No. 100-667, 100th Cong.,
2d Sess. (Nov. 16, 1988). The "token use"
doctrine sanctioned waste of a trademark by
permitting someone to protect a mark without
really using it. After November 1989, a real
use or intent to use will be required.
n165 It has been argued that this condition
never occurred with physical goods, or that it
has not occurred during the known history of
mankind. See C. B. MACPHERSON, supra note
36. Others argue that even if this condition
applied to physical goods at one point in time,
it cannot be used in a justification for property
enduring past its original allocation.
Steiner, supra note 149, at 251-52 (eventually all
land will be owned and nonlandowners will be
trespassers unless they obtain permission for
use from owners (citing H. SPENCER, SOCIAL
STATICS 114-15 (1851))); Mautner, supra note
36, at 267-68 (justification fails because claim
that property was legitimately acquired can
rarely be supported).
n166 Rapaczynski, supra note 48, at 307.
n167 Radin, Property and Personhood, 34
STAN. L. REV. 957, 957 (1982).
n169 This theory was most thoroughly
developed in G. HEGEL, PHILOSOPHY OF
RIGHT, supra note 4.
n170 See Kwall, Copyright and the Moral
Right: Is an American Marriage Possible?, 38
VAND. L. REV. 1, 5-16 (1985) (urging U.S. to
adopt aspects of European copyright law
which recognize moral and personal rights of creator in work produced, rather than mere
pecuniary interests recognized under U.S.
law); Katz, The Doctrine of Moral Rights and
American Copyright Law -- A Proposal, 24 S. CAL.
L. REV. 375, 391-409 (1951) (proposing that the
U.S. incorporate the European concept of
moral rights into copyright law); Roeder, The
Doctrine of Moral Rights: A Study in the Law of
Artists, Authors and Creators, 53 HARV. L. REV.
554, 558-65 (1940) (arguing that the U.S. should
adopt European moral rights in copyrighted
work, which includes right to publish, or not,
in form desired and right to prevent
n171 Acton, 3 THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF
PHILOSOPHY Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich
442 (1967 ed.).
n172 G. HEGEL, supra note 4, P41.
n174 Id. P39.
n175 Berki, Political Freedom and Hegelian
Metaphysics, 16 POL. STUD. 365, 376 (1968).
n176 The Philosophy of right is divided into
Part I, "Abstract Right" is
concerned with the individual agent as a
person in relationships with other persons and
things. Parts II and III are concerned with the
higher development of the agent as an
autonomous moral subject and as a member of
the rational community ultimately manifested
in the State. G. HEGEL, supra note 4.
n177 A. CAMUS, CALIGULA (1945).
n178 For example, he attacks parents who
treat their children as "things." G. HEGEL,
supra note 4, P43.
n179 The first principle of Rawls'
architectonic system addresses this concern:
"Each person is to have an equal right to the
most extensive total system of equal basic Page 65
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * liberties compatible with a similar system of
liberty for all." J. RAWLS, supra note 153, at
250; id. at 302.
n180 G. HEGEL, supra note 4, PP47-48.
n181 J. LOCKE, supra note 32, § 27.
n182 Knowles, Hegel on Property and
Personality, PHIL. Q., Jan 1983, at 45, 48.
n183 Acton, supra note 171, at 446.
n184 G. HEGEL, supra note 4, P24.
n185 See, e.g., H. MARCUSE, REASON
AND REVOLUTION 192-95 (1960) (property is
the first embodiment of freedom and
individuality is manifested in property); Ilting,
The Structure of Hegel's 'Philosophy of right', in
(Pelczynski ed. 1971).
n186 Knowles, supra note 182, at 52-53.
n187 John Plamenatz has made this point
To make a claim is not to give vent to an
appetite; it is not to be demanding in a way
that even an animal can be. It is to make a
moral gesture that has meaning only between
persons who recognize one another as persons.
. . . The creature that aspires to freedom is a
social being and can get what it aspires to only
in society -- or, in the language of Hegel, it
belongs to an ethical universe and can achieve
freedom only inside it.
Plamenatz, History as the Realization of
PHILOSOPHY 30, 40-41 (Pelczynski ed. 1971).
n188 G. HEGEL, supra note 4, P51.
n189 Id. P50.
n190 Id. P51.
n191 Id. P64.
n192 Id. n193 Id. P65.
n194 Id. P56.
n195 Id. P55.
n196 Id. P59.
n197 Id. PP54-58.
n198 Id. P60. Note that this "marking"
accords with Hegel's apparent recognition that
secure property or capital allows continued
n199 Radin, supra note 167, at 987.
n200 G. HEGEL, EARLY THEOLOGICAL
WRITINGS (T.M. Knox trans. 1977).
n201 Id. at 308.
n202 Note that this is also different from
Marx's classic statement of alienation in which
the laborer expends labor on the object he
produces but neither identifies with it nor owns
MARX, ECONOMIC AND
PHILOSOPHIC MANUSCRIPTS OF 1844, at
110-11 (B. Struik ed. 1964).
n203 Radin, supra note 199, at 989-91.
n204 G. HEGEL, supra note 4, P49.
n205 Id. P43.
n207 Id. P67.
n208 Id. P70. The oblique references to
slavery and suicide in paragraphs 67 and 70
are made explicit in the Additions, at
paragraphs 44 and 45.
n209 Probably because of the technology of
his time, Hegel did not consider the possibility
of mass production capable of imitating an
artist's work. See id. P68 (copy of a work of art
contains elements of copyist's skill whereas
copy of books are merely mechanical
reproductions). Page 66
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * n210 Id.
n211 Id. P69.
n214 Id.; see also id. P170.
n215 See generally J. HYPPOLITE, STUDIES
ON MARX AND HEGEL 82-83 (1969); D.
MCLELLAN, THE YOUNG HEGELIANS
AND KARL MARX 140-41 (1969); C. TAYLOR,
HEGEL AND MODERN SOCIETY 144-45
n216 Bleistein v. Donaldson Lithographing
Co., 188 U.S. 239, 250 (1903).
n217 "Persona" is a term used when
discussing the right of publicity and the right
to one's image, name, or likeness. Hengham &
Wamsley, The Service Mark Alternative to the
Right of Publicity: Estate of Presley v. Russen, 14
PAC. L.J. 181, 182 (1983).
n218 While some politicians and rock stars
may work on their public images, the world is
full of famous athletes, heroes, and actors who
do not labor to create their public images.
However, in Memphis Development Foundation
v. Factors, 616 F.2d 956, 959 (6th Cir. 1980), the
court found that protection of the persona was
intended to motivate creativity.
n219 Aspects of the persona have been
given property or quasi-property protection in
a series of cases throughout the country. See,
e.g., Hirsch v. S. C. Johnson & Sons, Inc., 90
Wis.2d 379, 403, 280 N.W.2d 129, 140 (1979)
(publicity rights granted over use of
nicknames); Price v. World Vision Enter., 455 F.
Supp 252, 266 (S.D.N.Y. 1978) (enjoining
defendants from using voices and likenesses of
Laurel and Hardy), aff'd, 603 F.2d 214 (2d Cir.
1979); see generally Shipley, Publicity Never Dies;
It Just Fades Away: The Right of Publicity and Federal Preemption, 66 CORNELL L. REV. 673,
680 (1981) (citing several cases granting
n220 Indeed, it is hard to say whether an
author's writing or an author's persona is the
better medium for expressing personality. The
persona may be more important because it
represents a whole character, image, and
lifestyle, while an author's written works
consist of only specific expressions. On the
other hand, a novel may be a more accurate
representation of personality for some writers
because the work is an intentional expression
of the creator, while the persona is the
individual's intentional and unintentional
actions combined with popular reaction to
these actions. Indeed, it is difficult to fit
personas into both the labor and personality
theories of intellectual property. They are
sometimes the result of hard work towards
securing a public image based on an internal
vision. But quite often they are creations of
pure chance, perhaps the only "intellectual
property" without intentionality.
n221 The privatization
however, raises the spectre
data being monopolized
private individuals and
copyrighted works. of space satellites,
of new geographic
in the hands of
released only in n222 Arno corrects for Mercator distortions
that make the northern hemisphere, i.e. first
and second world countries, appear larger in
land area than they really are and that make
the less developed nations of the southern
hemisphere look smaller. See P. ARNO, A
NEW MAP OF THE WORLD (1983).
n223 For example, since the 1950s, China
has been consistently colored yellow on
National Geographic maps.
SOCIETY, Page 67
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * ATLAS OF THE WORLD 132-43 (14TH ed.
n224 Trademark Clarification Act of 1984,
Pub. L. No. 98-620, 98 Stat. 3335.
n225 See H.R. REP. NO. 781, 98th Cong., 2d
Sess. 9, reprinted in 1984 U.S. CODE CONG. &
ADMIN. NEWS 5750, 5758-59 (discussing H.R.
1007, 96th Cong., 1st Sess. (1979)).
n226 We tend to feel that a particular
invention, unlike a particular novel, would
eventually be created by someone.
generally Marconi Wireless Co. v. United States,
320 U.S. 1, 62 (1943) (assessing importance of
individual inspiration to scientific and
technological development in light of view that
scientific progress is gradual evolutionary
n227 Cf. P. DAVIS & R. HERSH, THE
MATHEMATICAL EXPERIENCE 298-316
(1981) (chapters "Comparative Aesthetics" and
"Nonanalytic Aspects of Mathematics").
n228 Cf. Apple Computer, Inc. v. Franklin
Computer Corp., 714 F.2d 1240, 1253 (3d Cir.
1983) (dictum) (when idea underlying
computer program can be expressed in
different ways, choice of expression can be
protected by copyright), cert. dismissed, 464 U.S.
n229 Refusing to grant property rights over
discovered scientific facts may be a fitting
example of insufficient personality association
limiting property rights over a set of ideas.
n230 See F. W. Woolworth Co. v.
Contemporary Arts, Inc., 193 F.2d 162, 164 (1st
Cir. 1951) (though variations in manner of
sculpting might be appreciated only by a
"fancier," such variations are nonetheless a
product of "something irreducible" in
sculptor). n231 G. HEGEL, supra note 4, P71.
n232 Id. P65.
n233 See generally id. PP72-81.
n234 See Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, 22-23
(1948) (states violate fourteenth amendment by
enforcing racial discrimination clauses in real
n235 See generally Reno, The Enforcement of
Equitable Servitudes in Land, 28 VA. L. REV. 951,
972 (1942) (affirmative burdens on purchased
land not enforceable in equity).
n236 Dr. Miles Medical Co. v. Park & Sons
Co., 220 U.S. 373, 404 (1910).
n237 Licensing arrangements take either of
two forms. One approach, common with
patents, is to license an individual to use a
patented process for her own work. This is
directly analogous to alienation of single
copies. "Licensing" might also take the form of
giving a marketing company all rights to a
copyright or patent in exchange for fixed
royalties. This would seem more analogous to
complete alienation of the res.
n238 G. HEGEL, supra note 4, § 66.
n239 Compare Bowie, The Rise and Fall of
Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (RCA
1972) with Bowie, "Heroes" (RCA 1977).
n240 See D. STOCKMAN, THE TRIUMPH
OF POLITICS (1987).
n241 Perhaps no writer has stated this
more eloquently than Borges himself:
It's the other one, it's Borges that things
happen to. . . . News of Borges reaches me
through the mail and I see his name on an
academic ballot or in a biographical dictionary.
I like hourglasses, maps, eighteenth century
topography, the taste of coffee, and
Stevenson's prose. The other one shares these Page 68
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * preferences with me, but in a vain way that
converts them into the attributes of an actor. It
would be too much to say our relations are
hostile; I live, I allow myself to live, so that
Borges may contrive his literature and that
literature justifies my existence. I do not mind
confessing that he has managed to write some
worthwhile pages, but those pages cannot save
me, perhaps because the good parts no longer
belong to anyone, not even to the other one,
but rather to the Spanish language or to
tradition. . . . But I must live on in Borges, not
in myself -- if indeed I am anyone -- though I
recognize myself less in his books than in
many others, or than in the laborious
strumming of a guitar. Years ago I tried to free
myself from him and I passed from lowermiddle-class myths to playing games with
time and infinity, but these games are Borges'
now, and I will have to conceive something
else. . . . I do not know which of us two is
writing this page.
J.L. BORGES, Borges and I, in LABYRINTHS
246 (J.E. Irvy trans. 1964).
n242 G. HEGEL, supra note 4, PP66-69
(discussing inalienable types of property that
constitute one's "own private personality,"
such as inventor's idea for a machine;
comparing alienation of such property to total
alienation of personality in slavery).
n243 G. HEGEL, supra note 4, P69 ("the
primary means of advancing the sciences and
arts is to guarantee scientists and artists
against theft and to enable them to benefit
from the protection of their property").
n244 A creator concerned only with
economic return might allow radical brutal
changes in his work if this produced the most
profit. Personality considerations, by contrast,
cause owners to prohibit change, deletions, or
misattributions during any reproduction. Indeed, a creator concerned purely with
personality expression might allow free
reproduction of his work as long as these
restrictions were honored.
n245 G. HEGEL, supra note 4, P 71.
n246 Id. P69.
n247 Id. P66.
n248 American intellectual property laws
are often compared to their European
counterparts, which are based on the concept
of "moral rights." See, e.g., Katz, supra note 170,
at 410-20 (examining receptivity of American
law to doctrine of moral rights); Roeder, supra
note 170, at 557 (comparing American
copyright law with European doctrine of moral
rights); Merryman, The Refrigerator of Bernard
Buffet, 27 HASTINGS L.J. 1023, 1042 (1976)
(discussing reasons for absence of moral rights
doctrine in American copyright law).
n249 See, e.g., Sarraute, Current Theory on
the Moral Rights of Authors and Artists under
French Law, 16 AM. J. COMP. L. 465, 478-80
(1968) (discussing French statutory and case
law protections of an author's right to have his
name associated with his work).
n250 See Buffet v. Fersing,  Recueil
Dalloz [D. Jur.] 570, 571 (Cour d'appel Paris)
(enjoining sale of separate panels from
refrigerator creator had painted and had
intended as integrated whole); cf. Whistler v.
Eden,  Recueil Periodique et Critique
[D.P. II] 465 (Cour d'appel Paris) (on moral
rights grounds, James McNeill Whistler was
allowed to refuse to deliver portrait he had
finished and had been paid for, although he
was required to restitute contract price).
"Inalienable," however, should not be
construed in absolute terms. For example,
under French law, an author can contract to Page 69
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * not exercise at least some of his "inalienable"
n251 6 STUDIES IN INDUSTRIAL
COPYRIGHT, AND ANTITRUST LAWS 114
(F. Beier, G. Schricker & E. Ulmer eds. 1983).
n252 See supra note 170.
n253 In late 1988, the United States became
the 78th nation to join the Berne Copyright
See supra note 22.
Convention provides minimum standards of
copyright protection in member states
including a provision that protects "moral
rights." Berne Convention, supra note 22 art. 6,
bis (1); see Goldberg & Bernstein, 7 A.B.A.
PAT., TRADEMARK & COPYRIGHT NEWSL.,
No. 3, at 5 (1989) (response of Congress and
World Intellectual Property Organization that
U.S. law already provided compatible
protection to "moral rights" was a bit of a
n254 188 U.S. 239 (1903).
n255 Id. at 250.
n258 In fact, LEXIS searches uncovered
only one case that explicitly reasons with the
"personality" model adopted by Holmes: F.W.
Woolworth Co. v. Contemporary Art Inc., 193 F.2d
162, 164 (1st Cir.) (artist's rendering of cocker
spaniel in show position reflected "something
irreducible" about artist and is therefore
protected by copyright (citing Bleistein, 188
U.S. at 249-50)), aff'd, 344 U.S. 228 (1951).
n259 188 U.S. at 250.
n260 However, Justice Douglas did present
the issue in an unusual dissent from a denial of
certiorari. See Lee v. Runge, 404 U.S. 887, 890 (Douglas, J., dissenting from denial of
certiorari) (courts should not apply more
lenient constitutional standards to copyright
than to patent law), denying cert. to 441 F.2d 579
(9th Cir. 1971).
n261 111 U.S. 53 (1884).
n262 Id. at 60.
n263 Harper & Row v. Nation Enters., 471
U.S. 539, 547 (1985).
n264 Doran v. Sunset House Dist. Corp., 197
F. Supp 940, 944 (S.D. Cal. 1961), aff'd, 304 F.2d
251 (9th Cir. 1962), quoted in Runge v. Lee, 441
F.2d 579, 581 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 404 U.S. 887
n265 Hotchkiss v. Greenwood, 52 U.S. (11
How.) 248, 267 (1850).
n266 Harries v. Air King Products, 183 F.2d
158, 162 (2d Cir. 1950).
n267 See Trade-Mark Cases, 100 U.S. 82, 94
(1879) (trademarks not afforded similar
constitutional protections given to copyrights
n268 See Standard Paint Co. v. Trinidad
Asphalt Co., 220 U.S. 446, 453-54 (1911) (term
"rubberoid" merely descriptive of asphalt
roofing product and not arbitrary misspelling
n269 Federal Trademark Act, ch. 592, 33
Stat. 724 (1905) (current version at 15 U.S.C. § §
1051-72, 1092-96, 1111-27 (1982)).
n270 See 1 J. MCCARTHY, TRADEMARKS
AND UNFAIR COMPETITION § 5:3, at 137
(2d ed. 1984). "Fanciful" marks are words or
symbols that did not exist in common usage
prior to their creation for the purpose of
trademark. "Arbitrary" marks are words or
symbols that are in common usage, yet are
unrelated to and nondescriptive of the item to
which they are attached. Page 70
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * n271 Examples of such "words" are
"Clorox," "Cutex," "Cuticura," "Polaroid,"
"Sanka," and "Yuban." Id. § 11:3, at 428.
n272 Stork Restaurant v. Sahati, 166 F.2d 348,
355 (9th Cir. 1948) (words "Stork Club"
arbitrarily used by successful restaurant
developed secondary meaning -- a club for
storks -- that is protected from exploitation by
n273 1 J. MCCARTHY, supra note 270, § §
11:1-11:2, at 433-36 ("inherently distinctive"
encompassess "fanciful," "arbitrary," and also
"suggestive" marks -- those that fall in the
middle ground between inventions and pure
n274 This is a label for cereal made of
raisins and bran. Skinner Mfg. v. Kellogg Sales
Co., 143 F.2d 895, 898 (8th Cir. 1948) (trademark
disallowed as merely descriptive).
n275 This was a description of chocolate
candies with a liquid center. In re Bianchi Co.,
165 U.S.P.Q. (BNA) 145 (1970) (trademark
disallowed as merely descriptive).
n276 1 J. MCCARTHY, supra note 270, §
2:13, at 94 (truth is necessary to ensure that
decision to purchase ultimately made by
consumer, not dictated by manufacturer
through manipulation of trademarks).
n277 Federal Trade Comm'n v. Royal Milling
Co., 288 U.S. 212, 216 (1933).
n278 Indeed, the Second Circuit has held in
Colligan v. Activities Club of New York, 442 F.2d
686, 692 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, 404 U.S. 1004
(1971), that consumers do not even have
standing to sue under section 43(a) of the
Lanham Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1125 (1982), which
provides that "[a]ny person who shall affix,
apply, or annex or use in connection with any
goods or services . . . a false designation of
origin, or any false designation or representation . . . and shall cause such goods
or services to enter into commerce . . . shall be
liable to a civil action . . . by any person who
believes that he is or is likely to be damaged by the
use of any such false designation or representation."
Id. (emphasis added).
n279 376 U.S. 254 (1964) (public official
cannot recover damages for defamatory
falsehood without a showing of actual malice).
n280 Time, Inc. v. Hill, 385 U.S. 374, 387-88
(1967) (under state statute providing remedy
for "unwanted publicity" New York Times
standard applicable not only to public officials,
but also to matters of public interest); Gertz v.
Robert Welsh, Inc., 418 U.S. 323, 349 (1974)
(private individuals must meet New York Times
standard to recover presumed or punitive
n281 See generally E. GOFFMAN, FRAME
ANALYSIS (1974); E. GOFFMAN, THE
PRESENTATION OF SELF IN EVERYDAY
n282 Warren & Brandeis, The Right to
Privacy, 4 HARV. L. REV. 193, 201, 205 (1890).
n283 196 Misc. 67, 80 N.Y.S.2d 575 (1948),
aff'd, 275 A.D. 692, 87 N.Y.S.2d 430 (1949).
n284 Id. at 69, 80 N.Y.S.2d at 577.
n285 295 F. Supp. 331 (S.D.N.Y. 1968).
n286 Id. at 355-56 (assumed name or
pseudonym not within meaning of New York
Civil Rights Law); see also Jaggard v. R. H. Macy
& Co., 176 Misc. 88, 89, 26 N.Y.S.2d 829, 830
(1940) (name assumed only for business
purposes not within protection of Civil Rights
Law), aff'd per curiam, 265 A.D. 15, 16, 37
N.Y.S.2d 570, 571 (1942) (finding that dress
designer is not even entitled to protection of
her true name when dress had been placed in
public domain without copyright protection). Page 71
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * n287 Weinreb, Generalities of the Fourth
Amendment, 42 U. CHI. L. REV. 47, 52-54
n288 Id. at 52-53 (privacy by presence exists
when a person is present in a public place and
is not engaged in a public performance or
n289 See Warren & Brandeis, supra note
282, at 201, 205.
n290 A repertory company in Texas
actually began work on such a production but
stopped when Albee threatened legal action.
Stick to the Script, N.Y. Times, Aug. 5, 1984, § 4,
at 7, col. 3.
n291 Note, however, that lines that the
authors explicitly committed to nonpublication could be protected under the
Warren-Brandeis privacy argument, not as
invading the authors' substantive privacy, but
because authors retain the right to prevent
publication of private writings. See supra text
accompanying note 282.
n292 Satie was particularly well-known for
his humorously obscure approach to the arts.
His title, "En Habit de Cheval" can be
understood either as "In Riding Clothes" or "In
the Clothes of a Horse."
n293 Note, Copyright, Free Speech, and the
Visual Arts, 93 YALE L.J. 1565, 1565 (1984) (by
n294 Kwall, supra note 170, at 68.
n295 See generally D. LADD, SECURING
HUMANIST ENDEAVOR (1984) (proposing
international standards to combat perceived
technological innovation). I am indebted to
David Ladd, Registrar of Copyrights from 1978-1985, for time spent in discussing this
Surprisingly, I have not
encountered other uses of the freedom of
expression rationale in my survey of the
n296 Free speech serves an "individual
interest, the need of many men to express their
opinions on matters vital to them if life is to be
worth living." Z. CHAFFEE, FREE SPEECH IN
THE UNITED STATES 33 (1969 ed.).
n297 See New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376
U.S. 254, 269-70 (1964) (free political discussion
is fundamental principle of American system
of government); see also A. MEIKLEJOHN,
FREE SPEECH AND ITS RELATION TO
importance of freech in understanding validity
n298 See Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v.
Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, 425 U.S. 748,
765 (1976) (free flow of commercial
information necessary for consumers to make
informed choices and best allocate resources).
n299 In his famous Whitney concurrence,
Justice Brandeis formulated what may be the
only mention by a Justice of a personal
development/personal health basis for free
speech. He drew a link between "freedom to
think as you will and speak as you think."
Whitney v. California, 274 U.S. 357, 375 (1927)
(Brandeis, J., concurring); see Bork, Neutral
Principles and Some First Amendment Problems,
47 IND. L.J. 1, 24-26 (analyzing Brandeis' four
justification for free speech).
n300 See Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 418 U.S.
323, 344 (1974) ("Public officials and public
figures usually enjoy significantly greater
to the channels of
communication and hence have a more
realistic opportunity to counteract false Page 72
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * statements than private individuals normally
enjoy."); Wolston v. Reader's Digest Ass'n, 443
U.S. 157, 164 (1979) ("[P]ublic figures are less
vulnerable to injury from defamatory
statements because of their ability to resort to
n301 Cinelli, Comrade's Doublespeak: The
Intransigent and Unchanging Soviet Copyright
Laws (unpublished paper on file with author).
n302 538 F.2d 14 (2d Cir. 1976).
n303 Id. at 26.
n304 Id. at 25.
n306 See, e.g., Stevens v. NBC, 148 U.S.P.Q.
(BNA) 755, 758 (Cal. Super. Ct. 1966) (contract
did not contain grant of television rights
enabling defendant network to make changes;
network therefore enjoined from inserting
commercials that would "alter, adversely affect
or emasculate the artistic or pictorial quality of
[the film] so as to destroy or distort materially
or substantially the mood, effect, or
continuity"); Seroff v. Simon & Schuster, 6 Misc.
2d 383, 390, 162 N.Y.S.2d 770, 777 (1957)
(defendant publisher had a duty to select
appropriate, competent foreign translator
when publisher had translation rights and sold
them to third party who produced distorted
n307 412 U.S. 94 (1973).
n308 Id. at 193 (Brennan, J., dissenting).
GUTENBERG GALAXY: THE MAKING OF
TYPOGRAPHIC MAN (1962) (discussing
change of ideas, beliefs, and values spurred by
consequences for an "open society").
n310 Kaplan, supra note 15, at 118 (citing
M. MCLUHAN, supra note 309). n311 Address by Stephen Stewart, 1980
Geiringer Lecture at New York University
(Nov. 17, 1980), reprinted in 28 BULL.
COPYRIGHT SOC'Y 351, 369 (1981).
n312 The limited reproduction process
before the printing press revolutionized
publication was very decentralized. An author
could not police the scribes reproducing his
book and catch all the intentional and
unintentional mistakes they made.
n313 The increasing quality of desktop
"printing" has brought copyright issues to the
fore already. The varying views are reflected
in two editorials in PUBLISH: THE HOW-TO
MAGAZINE OF DESKTOP PUBLISHING
(August 1987). In his column, the magazine's
[I]f you believe that it is illegal to tamper
with an image without obtaining prior consent
from the copyright owner, what then? Does
that mean Andy Warhol was really a soup-can
scanner? Is the Picasso estate now wide open
to a class-action suit brought by all the
aboriginal tribes of Papua New Guinea whose
primitive art influenced the Spanish painter?
Bunnel, Scanned Laughter, id. at 9 (emphasis
in original). The editor of the magazine argued
otherwise: "[T]he boundaries of intellectual
property are at issue here, and those borders
are to be jealously guarded.
photographers, graphic designers -- like
writers and consumers -- earn their living
(when they're lucky) by selling, licensing, even
bartering what they create." Gubernat, Stop,
Thief!, id. at 17.
n314 Kwall, supra note 170, at 69.
n315 [T]he pertinacious orators and writers
who get hauled up are merely extremist
spokesmen for a mass of more thoughtful and
more retiring men and women. . . . When you Page 73
77 Geo. L.J. 287, * put the hotheads in jail, these cooler people do
not get arrested -- they just keep quiet. And so
we lose things they could tell us, which would
be very advantageous for the future course of
Z. CHAFFEE, FREE SPEECH IN THE
UNITED STATES 561 (1946 ED.).
n316 I can think of no better example,
having been part of the process myself, than
the American law review. Compared to legal
journals elsewhere or other scholarly journals in the United States, the law review editing
process produces an increasingly monotonous
literature where no radical positions are
propositions are put forward without the
editor disagreeing in contrapuntal footnotes.
But see Hughes, The Philosophy of Intellectual
Property, 77 GEO. L.J. 287, 364 n.316 (1988)
(author's style retained in unedited tirade).
n317 B. KAPLAN, supra note 15, at 74. ...
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