Exclusive right

From Academic Kids

An exclusive right, as the name suggests, is the legal power to prohibit, or exclude, all others from taking a certain action. In some cases, such a right must be granted to persons by the state, while in others it may be automatically assumed.

Exclusive rights are found in property law, copyright law, patent law, trademark law, trade secret law, and public utilities. Many scholars argue that such rights form the basis for the institution of private property.

Contents

Types of exclusive rights

Property

A property right begins with the acquisition of something tangible. Upon its acquisition, one may exclude others from it. For instance, you can prohibit others from entering or using your land (real property), or from taking your possessions (personal property). These rights are not absolute; governments often grant easements to people other than those authorized by the land holder to use private land.

Intellectual Property

Most governments recognize multiple exclusive rights, sometimes grouped under an umbrella term "intellectual property". The most common of these positive rights is a copyright, or the exclusive right to produce copies of a work. Others include patents, trademarks, and trade secrets. In the case of patents, the exclusive right must first be explicitly granted by the government; copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets arise through the action of the initial owner of the right.

Unlike a property right, a copyright or patent applies to all copies of the particular subject it covers, regardless of whether the respective intellectual property holder actually owns them all. Thus, if someone owns a copy of a particular copyrighted work, but does not hold the copyright to it, he is even prohibited from making and distributing copies of his own copy with some exceptions (Fair use or Fair dealing); Apart from these exceptions, the right to make any copies is exclusively that of the copyright holder.

History and arguments

In property law, exclusive rights have often been the codification of pre-existing social norms with regard to land or chattels.

In addition, some scholars (particularly in continental Europe) argue that copyrights, patents, and the like are the codification of some kind of moral right, natural right, or personality right. However, such arguments can only be consistently justified through instrumentalism or consequentialism, as exemplified by the reasoning evident in Article One of the United States Constitution that copyrights and patents exist solely "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts."

Other

Privately granted rights, created by contract, may occasionally appear very similar to exclusive rights, but are only enforceable against the grantee, and not the world at large.

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