Principles of IP Justice

  1. We reserve the right to control our individual experience of intellectual property.

  2. Creators deserve to be compensated.

  3. We reserve our right to make private copies of lawfully acquired intellectual property.

  4. Technology and information that enable the exercise of rights should be lawful.

  5. “Copy Rights” come with “Copy Responsibilities.


We global citizens support these Principles of IP Justice out of concern that our rights to freedom of expression are in jeopardy in the digital world.

In democratic societies,laws are intended to reflect the public’s values, such as promoting creativity,freedom of information, and innovation. But global intellectual property laws are increasingly passed to satisfy narrow special interests at the public’s expense. We acknowledge that incentives are crucial to sustain creativity, but are concerned that excessive controls over intellectual property threaten the traditional balance between creators and the public.

We voice our collective concern over the continuous expansion of intellectual property holders’ rights without regard to traditional freedoms and safeguards. We wish to resist technological restrictions that control our use of our own media.

We ask that our intellectual property laws comport with our principles. We call upon our lawmakers and courts to show the same devotion to protecting the public’s rights to use intellectual property as is paid to media giants.

In hopes of safeguarding our liberty, we collectively object to these dangerous worldwide trends:

  • Extending copyright terms in perpetuity, thereby shrinking the quality and quantity of the public domain;

  • Relegating fair use rights to technologies of the past;

  • Outlawing legitimate consumer circumvention and reverse engineering of one’s own property;

  • Banning the publication of technical information;

  • Enforcing legal liability against tool makers and service providers for an other’s infringement;

  • Imposing legal and technical regimes that favor international media giants at the expense of local culture and competition;

In a shared effort to restore balance and justice to intellectual property law, we assert the following affirmative principles:

  1. We reserve the right to control our individual experience of intellectual property.

We are entitled to decide on which device, computer, or operating system we wish to experience our music, movies, books or games. This includes a right to “tinker” or reverse engineer media, allowing us to take it apart and adapt it to our own individual needs.

Technology empowers us with greater control over the ideas we consume. We do not violate copyright by skipping over commercials, muting offensive language, or watching movies on a homemade DVD player. Copyright law grants authors the right to control public performances, but when we are in the privacy of our own homes, using the media we lawfully acquired and the equipment we own, that private experience belongs exclusively to us.

  1. Creators deserve to be compensated.

Creators deserve to be rewarded for their contributions to society. Technology provides us with new opportunities to directly enrich the artists who inspire us, without having to rely upon movie and recording companies, who themselves often fail to pay the creators. We will compensate artists who entertain and enlighten us with their art and who respect our rights to use intellectual property. Exploring new business models that harness the properties of digital technology will further our shared goal of properly compensating creators.

  1. We reserve our right to make private copies of lawfully acquired intellectual property.

We are entitled to make personal noncommercial copies of the music, eBooks, and videos that we own. Sometimes called “Fair Use” or “Fair Dealing,” this doctrine permits unauthorized copying for socially beneficial purposes like education or personal use.

We maintain the right to “time shift” or copy our media in order to enjoy it at a more convenient time; or “space shift” to move it to a new device or location; or “format shift” to convert it into a format that is compatible with our own needs. We also reserve our rights to make back-up copies or to archive our digital media collections the same as with our analogue recordings in the past.

  1. Technology and information that enable the exercise of rights should be lawful.

Technology that helps us to exercise our lawful rights must also remain lawful if our rights are to have meaning in a digital world. Discussing information that describes how technology works must also remain lawful if we are to live up to our promise of protecting freedom of expression.

Technologies that are capable of substantial non-infringing uses should remain lawful in order to preserve consumer rights, innovation and competition. Absent any illegal intent on our part, we should not be held liable for the infringing activity of others who are beyond our control and benefit.

  1. “Copy Rights” come with “Copy Responsibilities.”

The public grants intellectual property rights to authors, temporarily, in exchange for certain rights that are reserved. Using technology to deny another party’s rights under the copyright bargain is not fair. If copyright holders wish to take advantage of the benefits of copyright protection, they must live up to the accompanying responsibilities, like dedication to the public domain and enabling private copying.