Originally Posted by pdurrant
I disagree. There are ethical justifications for copyright (aka monopoly intellectual property rights).
First and foremost, to encourage the creation of "intellectual property".
Somewhere in the Bible the point is made that "the laborer is worthy of his hire". Which is to say that a person is entitled to be compensated for his labor. I think this is an ethical proposition.
Historically, the method of transferring economic compensation for creative labor consists of buying a physical object, in this case, a book. But putting aside situations where the book itself is an artistic creation, the book is not what is actually created. That is, a book is just a container for a narrative performance which is itself the creation of the author's labor.
Copyright is merely the legal protection of the compensation stream. It insures that the compensation is actual paid, and goes to the laborer author rather than some other person. So the ethical argument for copyright is derivative - there is no actual ethical component to copyright itself.
Further, I don't see how encouraging the creation of IP is a matter of ethics. It's a matter of culture or esthetics, or so it seems to me.