Tim O'Reilly Responds to "Freedom or Power?"
Subject:   Copyrights are not really rights
Date:   2001-08-20 17:41:25
From:   guyberliner
Response to: Copyrights are not really rights

Clarification: The word "right" has at least two meanings that are quite distinct: one is narrow and limited, prescribed, for example, by a contract, or set forth in a law applying for a limited time to certain named parties. An entirely different kind of right is a "natural right," such as the rights set forth in the US Bill of Rights, or the UN's Universal Declaration.

"Copyrights" are obviously of the former sort. Unfortunately, the ideological hacks who invented the term "intellectual property rights" have done us all the inestimable harm of muddying the waters by confounding a natural right, the right to be safe in one's personal property and effects, with limited, contingent ones: exclusive monopoly rights, AKA "intellectual."