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> >> "Intellectual property" is a phrase you'll search for in vain in
> >> the 18th and 19th centuries and indeed most of the 20th.
> >  But look at the US Constitution (18th centry) for the concept, if not
> >the phrase,
>
> Two members of this list provided me the [same] excerpt that they think is the
> one you had in mind:
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Article I (which defines the legislative branch of our federal government),
> Section 8 (referring to powers of the legislature), Clause 8:
>
> "Clause 8: [The Congress shall have Power] To promote the Progress of
> Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and
> Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and
> Discoveries;"
> ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

The effect of this is to allow the originator of an idea to benefit from
it.  But note that the PURPOSE is to promote Progress (i.e., the "public
good" ?)

Any action taken by Congress that secures for an Author or Inventor "the
exclusive Right" for an unlimited Time would clearly violate the
Constitution.

And any patent or copyright law that does not promote Progress also
violates the Constitution.  The situation, however, is complicated by
several factors, including:

1. How do you prove that something does or does not promote Progress?

2. How do you honor the Rights of Authors and Inventors who live or work
   in or distribute to other Countries, where the Time may be unlimited,
   or the Purpose may be other than promotion of Progress?

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and I do not play one on the Internet.

--
Wes Groleau
http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~wgroleau
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Wes Groleau                       All disk space on hosts here belongs
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