Worldmaking: Property rights in aesthetic creations

Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 45 (2):183-192 (1986)
  Copy   BIBTEX


This paper delves into the nature of intellectual property rights in aesthetic creations, particularly works of visual art and literary works. The discussion focuses on copyrights interests, but there are also implications for trademark and patent rights. The argument assumes a fairly conventional definition of "property," namely, the set of legal relations between the owner and all other persons relating to the use, enjoyment and disposition of a tangible thing. The problem with such a definition as applied to aesthetic creations is that no ordinary tangible thing necessarily embodies a creation which can exist in multiple copies, so the paper takes the transcendent view that the tangible thing subject to legal relations is the entire terra firma or material universe being shaped in the image, sounds or words of the aesthetic creation. Therefore, the paradigm suggested for intellectual property is a monopoly on shaping the entire physical universe, thus the Worldmaking concept. It then follows that intellectual property in an aesthetic creation enables the owner to stop plagiarists from using any part of the material world to recreate in the audience the imaginative experiences first created by the protected work.

Author's Profile


Added to PP

541 (#25,824)

6 months
132 (#20,465)

Historical graph of downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.
How can I increase my downloads?