Hastings Science and Technology Law Journal


In the United States, intellectual property law is usually viewed as serving an economic policy, by providing an incentive for authors and inventors to create works. The incentive policy, however, ill fits the actual contours of intellectual property law and how artists and inventors use it. Adding other approaches offers a fuller explanation. Intellectual property plays a greater role than economic theory suggests in disclosing technology, and in serving to coordinate cultural values in technology. Intellectual property can serve human rights (similar to the moral rights approach in some jurisdictions) by allowing people to control the way that their works are publicly exploited and by allowing groups (such as indigenous peoples) to implement rights of self-determination, education, and media. In assessing doctrine and theory, deductive reasoning from economic or legal principles is no more important than literary tools, like interpretation and narrative. These points can be illustrated by some stories.