Copyright is Not a Natural Inalienable Human Right

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This is a list of the main articles on copyright.


Why is Copyright not a Natural Human Right?

When people hear the word 'Copyright', they assume that it is the right to copy, that the author is born with a right to prohibit copies of their published works and that pirates are trampling it into non-existence...... yet if it is their right, it must be strange that they can sell it or sign it away??

Nowadays it is almost impossible to express the definition of rights without qualifying it as a natural right first. There are two types of rights, natural rights and legal rights. As everyone should know, natural rights are not created – we are born with them. Privileges are created – through the derogation of the rights we already have. These privileges are like rights, but they are created through legislation, hence lawyers prefer to term them ‘legally granted rights’, ‘legal rights’, or simply ‘rights’. Because (thanks largely to copyright lawyers) the latter usage has now almost superseded the original meaning of right (much to copyright holders’ delight), too many people use the word ‘right’ interchangeably without realising that right qua privilege is completely antagonistic to right qua right!

A ‘rightsholder’ is really just an euphemistic term for someone who is privileged with the suspension of YOUR rights for the commercial exploitation thereof. Copyright is not an inherent natural right. It is the suspension of everyone's inalienable right to copy (which they were born with), to be held by exclusion in the hands of the 'copyright holder' for their commercial exploitation. That is why copyright is not owned, it is held. They HOLD your right to copy.

Why is Copyright not a Natural Human Right?

“Copyright grants its holder certain rights.”

What rights does copyright grant to the holder?

“The right to produce copies or reproductions?“

No, the holder already can do that. He does not need the government to tell him that he can.

“The right to make adaptations and derivative works.”

No, again the holder already can do that.

“The right to perform or display the work publicly?”

Again, this isn’t a right being granted to the holder, he is permitted to perform the work as he sees fit. None of these rights are granted to the holder by copyright law; they exist independently. What copyright law does is take away the rights of everyone else to do these things


What is a Natural Right?

There are two types of rights, natural rights and legal rights - however they are antagonistic opposites!
A right is only a right if, as with the rights to life, liberty, and property, you can rightfully use necessary and sufficient force to defend yourself against those who interfere with your exercise of that right. A right is no right at all if it is granted to you by the benevolence of your masters. The US Declaration of Independence has an excellent reference to these natural rights: (see orange box below)

This has been called "one of the best-known sentences in the English language",[5] containing "the most potent and consequential words in American history."[6] The passage came to represent a moral standard to which the United States should strive. This view was notably promoted by Abraham Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy, and argued that the Declaration is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted.[7] It has inspired work for the rights of marginalized people throughout the world." - Wikipedia, US Declaration of Independence

It is Not That People Abuse Copyright, But That Copyright Abuses People.

What we call ‘copyright’ is really an 18th century privilege. It was granted by Queen Anne in her statute of 1709 for the ulterior benefit of the crown and its Stationers’ Company. Copyright annuls everyone else's natural right to copy and reserves this for a minority, the 'copyright holders'. The reason why this is wrong is explained by Thomas Paine, founding father of the US, "Human rights originate in Nature, thus, rights cannot be granted via political charter, because that implies that rights are legally revocable, hence, would be privileges: It is a perversion of terms to say that a charter gives rights. It operates by a contrary effect — that of taking rights away. Rights are inherently in all the inhabitants; but charters, by annulling those rights, in the majority, leave the right, by exclusion, in the hands of a few... They... consequently are instruments of injustice ... The fact, therefore, must be that the individuals, themselves, each, in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist." - Thomas Paine, [Right of Man] In other words, State granted legal rights work by taking away the human rights of everyone else. Intellectual property law can only be achieved by rewriting physical property laws. They consequently are instruments of injustice because they allow some people to control the physical property of others.

Copyright is the limited time, limited suspension of the age old practice of sharing and copying. The reason they give is it's to promote 'Learning'.

US Congress: “The granting of such exclusive rights [copyrights] under the proper terms and conditions, cofers a benefit upon the public that outweighs the evils of the temporary monopoly.

The ability to employ the State's arm of coercion to veto what your own customers can and cannot do with pieces of information you have sold to them is not a right.


Frédéric Bastiat: The Law

“It is not true that the function of law is to regulate our consciences, our ideas, our wills, our education, our opinions, our work, our trade, our talents or our pleasures. The function of law is to protect the free exercise of these rights, and to prevent any person from interfering with the free exercise of these same rights by any other person.” - This is from Bastiat’s The Law, one of the great political essays to emerge from the whole Continental world of the 19th century.

. The purpose of government is to secure our rights, not rewrite them, not destroy them. You have the natural human right to COPY. You have the natural human right to create fan translations. It is a privilege (pretending to be a right) granted by the State that says otherwise. Human rights precede law. See Questioning Copyright by Crosbie Fitch [1]

There is A Priori Nothing Wrong With Infringing Copyright

That is why there is nothing a priori WRONG with infringing copyright. You are exercising your own natural right to copy. Copyright is a privilege that means the holder has been given the ability to suspend your right to copy IF THEY WANT TO (but in exchange they pay the hefty attorney fees). If the holder has no issue with an infringement of their privilege then they simply do nothing, (e.g. if they really like what someone has done with their work.) This is why copyright infringement is not wrong, not even illegal. Unfortunately, the copyright cartel has hyped up infringement so much (they now class it as a ‘cybercrime’) that everyone now assumes that all copyright infringement is WRONG – a violation of a poor starving artist’s human right. Copyright is not a human right. I will tell you what is a human right. Freedom of Expression is a human right. You have a natural right to express yourself through whatever cultural works that has been sold/published into the world.

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