IIPSJ focuses primarily on two aspects of social justice:  (1) inclusion of everyone in the full benefits of society and (2) empowerment of people to participate fully in the economic, social, and cultural life of the country.  IIPSJ, Inc., examines intellectual property law and policy as well as the IP regime in total to see where full participation of people, particularly historically and currently disadvantaged or excluded or marginalized groups, may need redressin.  Thus IIPSJ, Inc.,’s mission is to advance social justice principals in the IP environment by preparing people to enter the IP field through law and for others to help empower them to participate in the creation and exploitation of the intellectual property fruits of their own efforts.

Social justice is a protean concept that varies with circumstances.  Social justice includes the aspirational ideal of substantive equality as well as functional, relatively easily addressable features of procedural equality. Social justice includes at least some aspects of individual liberty (e.g., autonomy) as well as some communitarian liberty values such as civic virtues like voting, religious association, and pursuit of legitimate group interests.  Social justice includes not only access to, but also inclusion in the social, cultural, and economic life of the country.  Indeed, it extends beyond inclusion in social, cultural and economic life to full participation in and ability to affect the direction of civil society in all its manifestations.  Social justice thus rests upon the core values enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and Preamble to the United States Constitution of equality, liberty, and advancing the general welfare.

In the field of intellectual property, social justice includes the ability to enjoy the fruits of others at some base level of procedural equality (equal access) and the ability to have some base level of substantive equality in the beneficial impact of intellectual property created by others. Even more importantly, social justice in the area of intellectual property extends beyond mere access and beyond mere passive observation or enjoyment of others’ works (e.g., listening to a recording or seeing a movie) to include the ability to participate in the creation and exploitation of intellectual property both in a procedurally fair way and substantively significant way.


Lateef Mtima and Steven D. Jamar, The Copyright Social Justice Promise of Digitizing Textual Information, 55 N.Y.L. Sch. L. Rev. (forthcoming 2010)

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all me are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with unanlienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Declaration of Independence (1776).

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” (emphasis added). Constitution Preamble (1789).

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