Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution provides that Congress shall have power “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” These words have been the subject of countless books and scholarly articles. Professor Silbey’s engaging contribution [in Against Progress: Intellectual Property Law and Fundamental Values in the Internet Age] to the conversation focuses on one word—progress—and what it should mean as we think about intellectual property law’s motivations and justifications in the twenty-first century.
But even if we reimagine the goals of intellectual property to be not about (or not simply about) creative incentives but about basic fundamental values such as dignity, privacy, and distributive justice, as Professor Silbey quite appropriately encourages us to do, we must inevitably struggle with what it means to achieve progress in a legal regime where parties might very easily find themselves on either side of a dispute. Thus, the question subsequent to “What is intellectual property law for?” must be “Who is intellectual property law for?”
This abstract has been adapted from the article text.
Response or Comment
102 Boston University Law Review Online 78-81 (2022)
Heymann, Laura A., "Whose Progress?" (2022). Faculty Publications. 2072.