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No LawIntellectual Property in the Image of an Absolute First Amendment$
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David L. Lange and H. Jefferson Powell

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804745789

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804745789.001.0001

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Forward to the Eighteenth Century

Forward to the Eighteenth Century

Chapter:
(p.284) Chapter 12 Forward to the Eighteenth Century
Source:
No Law
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804745789.003.0012

This chapter draws upon Sir William Blackstone's views to examine the relationship between the First Amendment and intellectual property. Blackstone held a view of liberty of the press narrower in many ways than modern American free speech doctrine understands the First Amendment. He did not see after-the-fact punishment for “improper, mischievous, or illegal” publications as a violation of press freedom. The chapter looks at Blackstone's own discussion of copyright and identifies seeds of a justification for the application of Blackstone's logic to a case where Blackstone himself did not go. It also addresses some issues that can help clarify the absolute reading of the First Amendment proposed in Chapter 13.

Keywords:   Sir William Blackstone, First Amendment, intellectual property, copyright, press freedom, free speech

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