Intellectual Property Rights: Securing Values of the Mind
By Adam Mossoff
The extraordinary achievements in the pharmaceutical, biotech, telecommunications and computer industries in recent years are dramatic evidence of the significance of intellectual property rights to human life and success. Yet patents, copyrights and other intellectual property rights are under attack today by both collectivists and libertarians, who condemn these property rights as unjustified monopolies.
In this talk, Professor Mossoff explains Ayn Rand's radical justification for intellectual property rights—that all property is at root intellectual property. In recognizing that intellectual property rights represent "the legal implementation of the base of all property rights: a man's right to the product of his own mind," Rand grounds intellectual property rights in her novel concept of value and in her discovery that man's mind is his basic means of survival. In using a combination of philosophical and historical analysis, Professor Mossoff further develops Rand's unique justification for intellectual property rights, demonstrating that all property—whether real estate, personal property or intellectual property—arises from the values that man must first conceive and then act to produce. Ultimately, to understand why intellectual property rights are property rights par excellence is to recognize the radical political and legal implications of Rand's innovative ethical theory.
And here's the description of the optional course he will present this year, which I've taken straight from the OCON web site:
Topics in Intellectual Property: The Computer and Biotech Revolutions
Adam MossoffThis course discusses how the intellectual property (IP) laws have promoted and secured the incredible innovation in the past 50 years in the areas of computer technology and biotech. No knowledge of science, technology or IP law is necessary, as the purpose of this course is to inform attendees about these subjects so that they can better understand these modern achievements within the context of their existing Objectivist knowledge about the concept of value, the virtue of productivity, the right to property, and the theory and practice of capitalism. After a general introduction to IP law in the beginning of the course, we examine the historical development of computer technology and biotech and explain how the IP laws secured the life-enhancing values produced by inventive geniuses in these fields. Ultimately, this course provides important intellectual ammunition for Objectivists in both understanding IP rights and how they function with respect to the “hot topics” of computer technology and biotech.