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On Global Justice$
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Mathias Risse

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691142692

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691142692.001.0001

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Arguing for Human Rights

Arguing for Human Rights

Essential Pharmaceuticals

(p.232) Chapter 12 Arguing for Human Rights
On Global Justice

Mathias Risse

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines whether there is a human right to essential pharmaceuticals. It first considers the notion of an Intellectual Common by engaging with Hugo Grotius, and particularly whether his argument against private ownership of the seas can be applied to ideas. Freedom of the seas is no longer called for on Grotius's own terms. However, his reasoning in support of freedom of the seas bears not only on the atmosphere but also on a different domain, the domain of ideas. How people can exploit ideas economically is regulated by intellectual property law, which includes patents, copyrights, and trademarks. The chapter presents a general argument against the legitimacy of private intellectual property beyond compensation and incentive setting wherever intellectual property is regulated. It concludes by making the case for the relationship between human rights and vital medicines.

Keywords:   pharmaceuticals, Intellectual Common, vital medicine, seas, private ownership, intellectual property law, intellectual property, human rights

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