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    Controverses sur la propriété intellectuelle

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    Johnathan R. Razorback
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    Controverses sur la propriété intellectuelle

    Message par Johnathan R. Razorback le Jeu 27 Juil - 12:19

    La propriété intellectuelle : défenses et critiques.

    Article de l’économiste Tom G. Palmer, Are Patents and Copyrights morally justified?: The Philosophy of Property Rights and Ideal Objects, Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, Volume 13, Number 3, 1990.

    Que veut dire avoir un droit sur une propriété intellectuelle ?

    "Intellectual property rights are rights in ideal objects, which are distinguished from the material substrata in which they are instantiated."

    Exemple : Bikram Choudhury, founder of the fastest-growing style of yoga in America, has copyrighted his poses and is threatening to sue anyone who teaches his "hot" style without permission.

    Choudhury requires $150,000 to Kim and Mark Morrison, owners of a tiny yoga studio in Costa Mesa, Calif., it has grown into a bustling enterprise that employs 12 instructors and offers 40 classes a week in several styles of yoga.

    http://www.salon.com/2003/04/04/bikram/

    La défense de la propriété intellectuelle peut reposer sur une théorie de l’appropriation par le travail (inspirée de Locke), mais également se justifier comme un moyen nécessaire à l’épanouissement de la personnalité:

    "Many defenses of intellectual property rights are grounded in the natural law right to the fruit of one’s labor. Just as one has a right to the crops one plants, so one has a right to the ideas one generates and the art one produces.
    Another tradition of property rights argument bases itself on the necessity of property for the development of personality. Personality develops itself in its interaction with the world ; without a sphere of property over which we exercise control, for example, moral responsibility is unlikely to develop. Property rights, in this tradition, may incorporate an “economic” aspect, but it is fundamentally distinguished from other conceptions of property rights. Rather than looking to moral desert, or to maximization of utility, or to the omnipresence of scarcity, personality-based rights theories begin with a theory of the person. Often harkening back to Kant’s discussions of the nature of authorship and publication and to Hegel’s theory of cultural evolution, personality-based rights theory forms the foundation of German and French copyright law."

    Éclaircissement des points de vue de Kant et de Hegel:

    "Kant argued for the protection of literary works in his essay, “On the Injustice of the Pirating of Books.” [...] Kant argued that a book or other literary product is not simply “a kind of merchandise,” but an “exercise of his [the author’s] powers (opera), which he can grant to others (concedere), but can never alienate.” A copier, or infringer, offers to the public the thoughts of another, the author. That is, he speaks in the author’s name, which he can properly do only with permission. The author has given permission, however, only to his authorized publisher, who is wronged when a book edition is pirated."

    Comme le rappel Tom G. Palmer, Hegel ne raisonne pas dans le cadre du jusnaturalisme et du droit naturel: "Unlike Locke, Hegel does not see man as naturally free, and therefore as having natural, or pre-historic ownership rights in himself.”

    Il en résulte des conséquences importantes sur la théorie de la propriété (intellectuelle) de Hegel.

    Article de Jeanne L. Schroeder, Unnatural Rights - Hegel and intellectual property, Cardozo Law, Legal Studies Research Paper No. 80, March 1, 2004.
    L’approche en terme de développement de la personnalité s’oppose à l’approche non seulement à l’École des droits naturels, mais également à la philosophie utilitariste :

    "Many proponents of intellectual property law seek refuge in a personality theory of property associated with G.W.F. Hegel. This theory seems to protect intellectual property from potential attacks by a utilitarian analysis. Famously, utilitarianism does not believe in natural rights and recognizes property only contingently insofar as it furthers society’s goals of utility or wealth maximization. Personality theory, in contrast, supposedly offers a principled argument that property, in general, and intellectual property, specifically, must be recognized by a just state, regardless of efficiency considerations. Personality theory also seems to protect intellectual property from assault by critics who maintain that it is not a form of “true” property at all."
    "Hegel is often cited by personality theorists, but almost always incorrectly. In this Article I seek to save Hegel’s analysis of property from the misperceptions of its well-meaning proponents. I believe that the version of the personality
    theory of property that dominates in American intellectual property scholarship is imbued by a romanticism that is completely antithetic to Hegel’s project."

    Hegel admet que la propriété doit exister sous une forme minimale pour jouer un rôle constituant dans la personnalité des individus –elle est une composante de leur liberté :

    "It is true that Hegel thinks that a modern constitutional state should establish a minimal private property regime because property plays a role in the constitution of personality."

    Néanmoins cette défense générale de la propriété ne précise pas les formes concrètes qu’elle doit prendre. Hegel, rejoignant ici l’utilitarisme, rejette les droits naturels :

    "Surprisingly, although Hegel thinks that property is necessary for a certain conception of personhood, he leaves to practical reason the decision as to what specific property rights a state should adopt. In contrast to a widespread misconception, Hegel completely rejects any concept of natural law generally, and any natural right of property, specifically. Jeremy Bentham, the founder of modern utilitarianism, thought that the very concept of natural rights was “nonsense on stilts”. Hegel goes a step further and considers the expression “natural rights” to be an oxymoron. To Hegel, nature is unfree and legal rights are artificial constructs created as a means of actualizing freedom by escaping the causal chains of nature. Consequently, rights are not merely not natural, they are unnatural."

    Pour Hegel, la propriété n’étant pas naturelle mais crée par la loi de l’Etat, elle conserve une dimension contingente. Elle ne semble en tout cas pas une dimension authentiquement constituante du sujet :

    «Hegel will insist that abstract right (including property) is external to the subject. That is, the subject is subjected to the law. The legal subject obeys the law of property and contract is not because she subjectively believes that it is right, but because she recognizes it as a means to accomplish her ends.
    This means that the legal subject is an “uncultured” creature who represents an impoverished conception of personhood. The legal subject is fit only for the tawdry business of buying and selling. She is not yet capable of morality or ethics and cannot yet become a lover, mother, friend, participant in civil society, voter, or legislator – let alone an artist. »

    En conclusion, il n’est pas possible de prendre appui sur Hegel pour défendre la propriété intellectuelle:

    « Hegel’s logic has absolutely nothing to say on the issue as to whether society should adopt a positive law of intellectual property. [...] The question as to what positive laws society should adopt is purely a matter of practical reasoning.”

    La défense de la propriété intellectuelle passe donc beaucoup plus par une tradition libérale s’appuyant sur une lecture de John Locke :

    Article d’Adam Mossoff (Professor of Law at George Mason University School of Law), Why Intellectual Property Rights? A Lockean Justification:

    Pour Mossof, la défense utilitariste de la propriété intellectuelle n’est pas suffisante. Il souhaite la fonder sur la théorie de l’appropriation par le travail ( John Locke), qui ne distingue pas entre la création d’objets matériels et immatériels :

    "Today, the dominant justification for intellectual property (IP) rights is a broadly framed utilitarian theory. But this was not always the case, and nor should it be."

    "Lockean property theory is that it recognizes that IP rights are fundamentally the same as all property rights in all types of assets—from personal goods to water to land to air to inventions to books. These and many other type of goods are the byproduct of an individual’s value-creating, productive labor that creates them, acquires them, transforms and uses them, and ultimately disposes of them in voluntary transactions with other people in civil society. This is why Locke himself expressly recognizes that copyright is property."

    Mossof fait valoir que Locke a pris parti pour le droit d’auteur, étendu au-delà de la mort du créateur d’une oeuvre de l’esprit:

    "In an essay on the statutory printing monopoly granted to the Stationers Company by Parliament, Locke condemns such monopolies as violating the “property” in creative works that “authors” rightly claim for themselves. In what might be a further surprising claim for many today who think copyright terms are too long, Locke writes in this 1695 essay that authors should have their property rights secured to them for their lifetimes or after first publication plus “50 or 70 years.”."

    On peut également mentionner la position jusnaturaliste de Ayn Rand (mais qui, de façon étonnante, semble sur cette question particulière mêlée de justifications utilitaristes que la philosophe critique par ailleurs) :

    "A similar argument, but one that stops short of property rights in perpetuity, is offered by Ayn Rand [in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 1967]. Rand states, “patents and copyrights are the legal implementation of the base of all property rights: a man’s right to the product of his mind.”. Patents and copyrights are moral rights, and not merely legal rights: “The government does not ‘grant’ a patent or copyright, in the sense of a gift, privilege, or favor; the government merely secures it—[that is], the government certifies the origination of an idea and protects its owner’s exclusive right of use and disposal.”. Like many other advocates of intellectual property rights, Rand sees patents as the highest form of property: “the heart and core of property rights.”."

    Ayn Rand semble recourir à des arguments utilitaristes en soutenant que le droit sur une propriété intellectuelle, maintenu à perpétuité, paralyserait l’évolution de la société:

    "In stopping short of granting to scientists and mathematicians rights to the facts or theories they discover, Rand relies on the same general moral principles as Spooner in her defense of the right to intellectual property, but adds a twist. Because of her focus on the role of “productive work” in human happiness, she advocates limits on the temporal duration of intellectual property: [Ijntellectual property cannot be consumed. I fit were held in perpetuity, it would lead to the opposite of the very principle on which it is based: it would lead, not to the earned reward of achievement, but to the unearned support of parasitism. It would become a cumulative lien on the production of unborn generations, which would immediately paralyze them.. . - The inheritance of material property represents a dynamic claim on a static amount of wealth; the inheritance of intellectual property represents a static claim on a dynamic process of production."

    La position de Rand souffre d’une fragilité lorsqu’elle place sur le même plan la compétition pour des ressources limitées, qui implique nécessairement que ceux qui les ont légitimement obtenus en jouissent exclusivement et soient protégés de la jalousie d’autrui, et la compétition autour de ressources telles que les idées, que ne sont pas naturellement soumises à la rareté mais le deviennent lorsque l’Etat sort de son rôle régalien pour accorder des privilèges à certains individus :

    "According to Rand:
    As an objection to the patent laws, some people cite the fact that two inventors may work independently for years on the same invention, but one will beat the other to the patent office by an hour or a day and will acquire an exclusive monopoly, while the loser’s work will be totally wasted. . . . Since the issue is one of commercial rights, the loser in a case of that kind has to accept the fact that in seeking to trade with others he must face the possibility of a competitor winning the race, which is true of all types of competition.
    This idea does not comport well with her earlier claim that intellectual property rights are natural rights that are merely recognized—not granted—by government; in this case a full monopoly is awarded by government to one inventor, while another with a claim equally valid in every respect except for a ten minute lead time at the patent office is denied any right to exploit the invention."

    Néanmoins, la défense de la propriété intellectuelle peut aussi se justifier dans le cadre de l’anarchisme individualiste.

    Pour l’anarchiste individualiste américain Lysander Spooner (1808 - 1887), si l’existence de l’Etat n’est pas légitime du fait de son caractère non-contractuel et non consenti, la propriété intellectuelle est quant à elle naturelle. Il écrit ainsi en 1855 :

    "Spooner begins his book, The Law of Intellectual Property: or An Essay on the Right of Authors and Inventors to a Perpetual Property in Their ldeas, by establishing the status of immaterial objects as wealth. “Everything,” writes Spooner, “whether intellectual, moral, or material, however gross, or however subtle; whether tangible or intangible, perceptible or imperceptible, by our physical organs—of which the human mind can take cognizance, and which, either as a means, occasion, or end, can either contribute to, or of itself constitute, the well-being of man, is wealth.” This obviously includes ideas, which are often the objects of economic transactions. Property, as Spooner defines it, is “simply wealth, that is possessed—that has an owner”. The right of property is the “right of dominion,” the right “which one man has, as against all other men, to the exclusive control, dominion, use, and enjoyment of any particular thing.”

    En définissant les idées comme de la richesse, Spooner ne semble pas si éloigné de Kant qui critiquait le piratage en faisant valoir qu’il cause un préjudice économique aux ayants droits d’une oeuvre. Néanmoins, la propriété intellectuelle est beaucoup plus générale chez Spooner puisqu’elle ne se limite pas aux ouvrages :

    "The foundations of property, according to Spooner, are the acts of possession and of creation."

    Spooner propose de régler les conflits d’appropriation des idées en suivant à la fois le principe du premier occupant et la théorie de la propriété qui rappelle Locke (sa position n’est pas réductible à ce dernier car Locke ne défend pas le principe du premier occupant, il considère que les terres appartiennent originellement à l’Humanité dans son ensemble et qu’un espace particulier ne peut être approprié que sous réserve d’en laisser suffisamment à autrui. Dimension égalitaire inspirée du Thomisme) :

    "Having established that ideas are wealth and that all wealth is the product of intellect, Spooner argues analogically that ideas are just as much property as tangible objects. If ideas preexist in nature and are merely discovered (as, for example, scientific principles or naturally occurring substances), then “he who does discover, or first takes possession of, an idea, thereby becomes its lawful and rightful proprietor; on the same principle that he, who first takes possession of any material production of nature, thereby makes himself its rightful owner." On the other hand, if ideas are not pre-existing in nature, but are the products of an active intellect, then “the right of property in them belongs to him, whose labor created them.”."
    “To the objection that property rights in ideas cease on publication or communication of an idea to another (“because that other person thereby acquires as complete possession of the idea, as the original proprietor”), Spooner responds that it falsely assumes that “if a man once intrust his property in another man’s keeping, he therebyloses his own right of property in it,”. Possession is not equivalent to the right of use, for “where one man intrusts his property in another man’s possession, the latter has no right whatever to use it, otherwise than as the owner consents that he may use it.”
    La propriété intellectuelle semble également légitime à Spooner dans la mesure où le processus de formation des idées serait individuel plutôt que social :
    “Against the objection that some ideas are social in nature, Spooner argues that the role of society in the production of ideas is nil. Ideas are created by individuals, and only individuals have rights to them. As Spooner counters, “Nothing is, by its own essence and nature, more perfectly susceptible of exclusive appropriation, than a thought. It originates in the mind of a single individual. It can leave his mind only in obedience to his will. It dies with him, if he so elect.”. »

    Les critiques de la propriété intellectuelle :

    Critique marxiste.

    Article du militant socialiste Mick Brooks, Intellectual property rights – the modern day enclosure of the commons, paru sur le site In Defence of Marxism, 22 November 2005.

    Pour Brooks, le capitalisme est un système qui cherche constamment à privatiser les biens communs dans une logique de profit. Il trace ainsi un parallèle entre les enclosures survenues en Angleterre au XVIIème siècle et la propriété intellectuelle.

    La critique de Brooks se situe à deux niveau, il emploi un argument utilitariste (la propriété privée nuit à la société en entravant le développement des forces productives) et un autre d’ordre ontologique (la création n’est jamais un acte individuel mais un phénomène social) :

    "It would actually be in the interests of the development of the productive forces that all information and innovation were freely diffused throughout the economy. Under capitalism, innovation would not take place at all under those conditions. Only by retarding the spread of ideas and charging rents can capitalism develop the powers of production. In other words this is an example of capitalism as a fetter on the development of the productive forces."
    "In any case, creation is seldom only the result of individual genius. We all incorporate the advances of others as building blocks in our own thought without even considering it. That is how humanity advances. And they want to stop it !"

    La critique libertarienne (ou anarcho-capitaliste) de la propriété intellectuelle:

    Paradoxalement (mais de façon stimulante), la propriété intellectuelle est également attaquée depuis un point de vue aux antipodes du communisme, à savoir le libertarianisme :

    Article de l’avocat et essayiste libertarien américain Stephan N. Kinsella, How Intellectual Property Hampers the Free Market, The Freeman, June, Vol 61, n°5, 2011.

    Kinsella s’oppose à la propriété intellectuelle, qu’il juge incompatible avec la propriété et le marché libre. Il fait remarquer qu’elle n’existe que par l’intervention de l’Etat et trouve ses origines dans la censure pratiquée par la monarchie absolue :

    "There are good reasons to think that IP is not actually property—that it is actually antithetical to a private-property, free-market order. By intellectual property, I mean primarily patent and copyright."
    "It’s important to understand the origins of these concepts. As law professor Eric E. Johnson notes, “The monopolies now understood as copyrights and patents were originally created by royal decree, bestowed as a form of favoritism and control. As the power of the monarchy dwindled, these chartered monopolies were reformed, and essentially by default, they wound up in the hands of authors and inventors.”
    Patents were exclusive monopolies to sell various goods and services for a limited time. The word patent, historian Patricia Seed explains, comes from the Latin patente, signifying open letters. Patents were “open letters” granted by the monarch authorizing someone to do something—to be, say, the only person to sell a certain good in a certain area, to homestead land in the New World on behalf of the crown, and so on.
    It’s interesting that many defenders of IP—such as patent lawyers and even some libertarians—get indignant if you call patents or copyright a monopoly. “It’s not a monopoly; it’s a property right,” they say. “If it’s a monopoly then your use of your car is a monopoly.” But patents are State grants of monopoly privilege."

    Il remarque ensuite que la propriété intellectuelle est nuisible à la concurrence car elle avantage injustement les grandes compagnies susceptibles d’acquérir des brevets, au détriment des petites entreprises qui ne parviennent pas à en
    obtenir et sont donc moins productives et compétitives qu’elles ne pourraient l’être en intégrant les innovations brevetées :

    "Large companies rattle their sabers or sue each other, then make a deal, say, to cross-license their patents to each other. That’s fine for them because they have protection from each other’s competition. But what does it do to smaller companies? They don’t have big patent arsenals or a credible countersuit threat. So patents amount to a barrier to entry, the modern version of mercantilist protectionism."

    Kinsella affirme ensuite que dans l’esprit des Pères Fondateurs des USA, la propriété intellectuelle n’était pas un droit naturel mais un moyen pratique de maximiser l’innovation. Il nie également qu’une défense de la propriété intellectuelle puisse se réclamer de Locke :

    "Despite modern IP proponents’ claims to the contrary, the American founders did not view intellectual property as a natural right but only as a policy tool to encourage innovation. Yet they were nervous about monopoly privilege, which is why patents and copyrights were authorized only for a limited time. Even John Locke, whose thought influenced the Founding Fathers, did not view copyright and patent as natural rights. Nor did he maintain that property homesteading applied to ideas. It applied only to scarce physical resources."

    La propriété intellectuelle ne peut donc être un droit naturel, car ceux-ci durent aussi longtemps que le sujet auquel sont rattachés ces droits :

    "Natural rights do not expire after 15 years."

    Kinsella ruine ensuite la défense utilitariste de la propriété intellectuelle:

    "The most common argument for IP, even among libertarians, is utilitarian, or “wealth-maximization,” which was the approach of the Founding Fathers: IP monopoly encourages innovation and therefore creates net wealth. In other words, the benefits outweigh the costs.
    No doubt the patent system imposes costs on American society. I’ve estimated the net cost at $38–48 billion a year, and this is probably conservative. The costs include patent attorney salaries, fees, litigation, increased insurance premiums, and higher-priced products—plus innovation and research lost when companies concentrate on patentable innovations and allocate fewer
    resources to more basic scientific research, or when an entire field is avoided for fear of patent-infringement lawsuits."
    "Thus a good utilitarian would have to conclude that patent and copyright laws are harmful."

    Il conclut que le “droit” à une propriété intellectuelle est en fait un faux-droit (ce que Raymond Aron appelait un droit-créance, c’est-à-dire un privilège légal de contrôle d’autrui qui n’a aucunement le caractère universel d’un vrai droit) incompatible avec le droit de propriété:

    http://www.wikiberal.org/wiki/Faux_droits

    "Assigning property rights in ideas and other immaterial things, such as patterns or recipes, ends up restricting other people’s rights to control their physical property."

    C’est également la conclusion de Tom G. Palmer. Il montre que la propriété intellectuelle créé une rareté artificielle, qu’elle ne peut se maintenir que par l’emploie de la force (ou de la contrainte légale), et qu’au lieu d’être une protection, elle restreint la liberté d’action :

    "Arguments such as Spooner’s and Rand’s encounter a fundamental problem. While they pay homage to the right of self-ownership, they restrict others’ uses of their own bodies in conjunction with resources to which they have full moral and legal rights. Enforcement of a property right in a dance, for example, means that force can be used against another to stop him from taking certain steps with his body; enforcement of a property right in an invention means that force can be used against another to stop him from using his hands in certain ways, In each case, an intellectual property right is a claim of a right over how another person uses her body. [...]
    To claim a property right over a process is to claim a blanket right to control the actions of others. [...] When one claims to own a dance step, for example, one claims that no one else can so move his body as to perform this dance, and therefore that one has a right of dominion over the bodies of everyone else. Similarly, a copyright over a musical composition means that others cannot use their mouths to blow air in certain sequences and in certain ways into musical instruments they own without obtaining the permission of the copyright holder, Thus the real objects the copyright holder controls are the body and instruments of the other musicians. [...] The attempt to generate profit opportunities by
    legislatively limiting access to certain ideal goods, and therefore to mimic the market processes governing the allocation of tangible goods, contains a fatal contradiction: It violates the rights to tangible goods, the very rights that provide the legal foundations with which markets begin."


    _________________
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    -Ayn Rand.



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