You know that a specific topic or subject matter is A-list material when it merits mention in the United States Constitution.
The right to vote. Freedom of speech. An independent judiciary. No kings.
And, for purposes of discussion in our blog post today, the existence of legal safeguards that protect the property rights and interests of individuals against government and private encroachment.
Property is mentioned more than one time in the Constitution, and it is crystal clear from that important document’s word choices and expressed sentiments that the term was construed widely by the Constitution’s framers.
That is, and as noted in a recent media article discussing intellectual property rights under the Constitution, it is obvious from relevant constitutional language that when those individuals were thinking about property, they were considering a person’s rights to enjoy the fruits of labor, “regardless of whether those fruits take tangible or intangible form.
That broadly conceived notion of property is clearly noted in the central constitutional provision granting authors and inventors rights over their “respective Writings and Discoveries.”
That grant is clearly focused upon intellectual property, even though that term is not expressly used in the Constitution.
Why were the founders so adamant about protecting intellectual property?
As the authors of the above-cited article state, deep thinkers at the time the Constitution was written collectively and widely believed in the natural law ideal that creators had an innate right to whatever their labor produced.
And that centrally applied to creations stemming from mental labor.
Many millions of Americans today, of course, continue to think the same way, understanding either immediately or at a more inchoate and muted level that society is enriched through protecting the creations of individuals who make life better and more interesting through their genius and sweat equity.
Indeed, if safeguards lacked to protect intellectual property, what motivation would artists, inventors and business entrepreneurs have at all to spend time, money and energy on thinking about new ideas?
Arguably, a material dumbing-down of society occurs commensurate with any weakening of protections that apply to intellectual property.
It is eminently clear, note the aforementioned media contributors, why “a central aim of government is to protect a person’s property.”