Front Page Titles (by Subject) SECTION VII.: What is the Foundation of the Right of Property? - The Law of Intellectual Property; or An Essay on the Right of Authors and Inventors to a Perpetual Property in their Ideas
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SECTION VII.: What is the Foundation of the Right of Property? - Lysander Spooner, The Law of Intellectual Property; or An Essay on the Right of Authors and Inventors to a Perpetual Property in their Ideas 
The Law of Intellectual Property; or An Essay on the Right of Authors and Inventors to a Perpetual Property in their Ideas (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1855).
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What is the Foundation of the Right of Property?
The right of property has its foundation, first, in the natural right of each man to provide for his own subsistence; and, secondly, in his right to provide for his general happiness and well-being, in addition to a mere subsistence.
The right to live, includes the right to accumulate the means of living; and the right to obtain happiness in general, includes the right to accumulate such commodities as minister to one’s happiness. These rights, then, to live, and to obtain happiness, are the foundations of the right of property. Such being the case, it is evident that no other human right has a deeper foundation in the nature and necessities of man, than the right of property. If, when one man has dipped a cup of water from the stream, to slake his own thirst, or gathered food, to satisfy his own hunger, or made a garment, to protect his own body, other men can rightfully tell him that these commodities are not his, but theirs, and can rightfully take them from him, without his consent, his right to provide for the preservation of his own life, and for the enjoyment of happiness, are extinct.
The right of property in intellectual wealth, has manifestly the same foundation, as the right of property in material wealth. Without intellectual wealth—that is, without ideas—material wealth could neither be accumulated, nor fitted to contribute, nor made to contribute, to the sustenance or happiness of man. Intellectual wealth, therefore, is indispensable to the acquisition and use of other wealth. It is also, of itself, a direct source of happiness, in a great variety of ways. Furthermore, it is not only a thing of value, for the owner’s uses, but, as has before been said, like material wealth, it is a merchantable commodity; has a value in the market; and will purchase, for its proprietor, other wealth in exchange. On every ground, therefore, the right of property in ideas, has as deep a foundation in the nature and necessities of man, as has the right of property in material things.