The philosophy of copyright might be said to include several philosophical issues which are fundamentally linked to copyright policy, and other jurisprudential problems that arise in legal systems' interpretation and application of copyright law.
Probably the most profound and widely debated philosophical issue amongst scholars of copyright law, is its purpose. Some take the approach of looking for coherent justifications of established copyright systems, while others start with general ethical theories, such as utilitarianism and try to analyse policy through that lens. Another approach denies the meaningfulness of any ethical justification for existing copyright law, viewing it simply as a result (and perhaps an undesirable result) of political processes.
Another widely debated issue is the relationship between copyrights and other forms of "intellectual property", and material property. Most scholars of copyright agree that it can be called a kind of property, because it involves the exclusion of others from something. But there is disagreement about the extent to which that fact should allow the transportation of other beliefs and intuitions about material possessions.
There are many other philosophical questions which arise in the jurisprudence of copyright. They include such problems as determining when one work is "derived" from another, or deciding when information has been placed in a "tangible" or "material" form.
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“A new philosophy generally means in practice the praise of some old vice.”
—Gilbert Keith Chesterton (18741936)