Crosbie Fitch: people have a natural power and right to share and build upon the cultural and technological works they have.
“Our rights imbued in us by nature” means that a right isn’t something we individually or collectively say we have, or decide we should have.
To discover our rights we must examine our own nature, we must determine what power nature has given us individually, and how it is balanced among all individuals in equilibrium (harmony).
A natural right is an individual’s natural power in equilibrium. A right is not the power of a strong man to crush a weak girl, but the equal power of all individuals to protect their lives, their bodies from harm, their dwellings from intruders, etc. Thus, a strong man may have more physical power in his body than a weak girl, but the strong man has the same right to protect his body as a weak girl has.
Powers given to people by the state, or by the crown as with Queen Anne in 1709, do not occur in mankind by nature. Whilst we have the natural power and right to prevent burglars stealing or making copies of our possessions, we are naturally unable to prevent our audience of a thousand singing the songs we sing to them, re-telling the stories we tell them, or making further copies of the pictures we sell to them. Indeed, people have a natural power and right to share and build upon the cultural and technological works they have. It is this right to copy, that we all have by nature, that was annulled by Queen Anne in 1709 to leave it, by exclusion, in the hands of a few – holders of our right to copy – copyright holders.
- Crosbie Fitch