Center for Interdisziplinary Research

ZiF Research Group Workshop

Balancing Intellectual Property Claims and the Freedom of Art and Communication

Convenors: Thomas Dreier (Karlsruhe, GER), Reinold Schmücker (Münster, GER), Pavel Zahrádka (Olomouc, CZE)

Date: 30 March - 1 April 2016

This workshop of the ZiF research group "The Ethics of Copying" focuses on the task and the difficulty of striking the right balance, or at least an acceptable balance, between private intellectual property claims and public or common goods like the freedom of communication or, more specifically, the freedom of art.

The freedom of communication seems to be regarded by most people as a moral right, but it has not (yet) been accepted as a legal concept in most jurisdictions. Therefore, we are not sure whether it is fully clear what people mean when they claim such a right and what kind of impact should be granted to this right if it interferes, for example, with intellectual property claims.

The freedom of art is a legal concept in some jurisdictions, while others seem to get along without a direct equivalent. Conflicts about what artists should be allowed to do in order to be able to create art, and what non-artists should be allowed to do in order to contribute to the flourishing of the arts or of particular kinds of art, are known and somehow solved in many jurisdictions, although the decisions differ considerably, depending on the respective legal framework.

The classical place for considerations of a balance between intellectual property claims and the freedom of art and communication in existing IP laws are the norms about exceptions to exclusive rights or about the conditions of "fair use" or similar instruments.

The focus of this workshop is not on the technicalities of adjusting particular clauses for such exceptions in some particular jurisdiction. Nevertheless, suggestions for possible solutions of particular problems of this type can be very instructive, if we understand them as examples and try to see what we can learn from them for dealing with similar problems in other jurisdictions.

For further information please contact:
Dr. Eberhard Ortland,


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