Commentary on Locke's Second Treatise on Government (1690)

Ronan Deazley, Lionel Bently (Editor), Martin Kretschmer (Editor)

Research output: Other contribution


Extracts from a treatise in which Locke sets out his labour theory of property.
Locke's writings on the labour theory of property provided eighteenth century proponents of the concept of copyright at common law (that is, copyright as a natural authorial property right) with a philosophical basis upon which to develop their arguments. The commentary explores the significance of a series of correspondence between John Locke and Edward Clarke, then MP for Taunton, concerning the lapse of the Licensing Act 1662 (uk_1662), and in the run up to the passing of the Statute of Anne 1710 (uk_1710). The commentary argues that, regardless of how Locke's writings on property were subsequently co-opted in the mid-eighteenth century debates as to the nature of copyright, it is doubtful whether Locke himself considered that copyright existed at common law.
Original languageEnglish
TypeScholarly Commentary
Media of outputOnline
PublisherUniversity of Cambridge
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Please cite as: Deazley, R. (2008) ‘Commentary on Locke's Second Treatise on Government (1690)', in Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900), eds L. Bently & M. Kretschmer,


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