According to wikipedia, this is Free Speech, Article 11:
The free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious of the rights of man. Every citizen may, accordingly, speak, write, and print with freedom, but shall be responsible for such abuses of this freedom as shall be defined by law.
You know, I like the French Revolution as much as anyone, and these days, with all the corruption, abuse, and incompetence in our politics, financial institutions, industry, and so on, maybe it would be a good idea to set up and use some guillotines in Washington, in our capitals, on Wall Street, etc., pour encourager les autres.
But what you quoted there is not a general definition of a natural right of free speech. Instead, you quoted from the French Declaration of the Rights of Man from August, 1789. It's deeply ironic that you would post that given that the French had just abolished copyright law early in the previous month and wouldn't get around to establishing a new general copyright law until 1793 IIRC. (There were a couple of laws regarding performing plays as early as 1791, but they mainly seem to have been concerned with breaking down monopolies)
So leaving fun-filled France behind, maybe instead of going to Wikipedia and just using the first thing you saw on the page that looked like you could quote it, let's at the very least look to see if there was a part of the very same damn Wikipedia page that you could have quoted instead, had you bothered to read even a tiny bit further. How about this:
In Areopagitica, published without a license,[John] Milton made an impassioned plea for freedom of expression and toleration of falsehood, stating:
"Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties"
Based on John Milton's arguments, freedom of speech is understood as a multi-faceted right that includes not only the right to express, or disseminate, information and ideas, but three further distinct aspects:
the right to seek information and ideas;
the right to receive information and ideas;
the right to impart information and ideas
Here in the US, we took a fairly strong stance on this early on, at least on paper, with the First Amendment guaranteeing this (pre-existing, natural right):
Congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press
And while some prominent figures support the idea of an absolute guarantee of free speech (Hugo Black, William O Douglas), the problem is that most people and most governments formed by those people, are pussies about it. So instead of at least taking an absolutist starting position and then maybe (but hopefully not) nibbling away at it, often one sees things like the sort of language you approvingly quoted, in which people are guaranteed free speech as long as it isn't the slightest bit inconvenient for those in power.
Anyway, though, the presence of utterly hypocritical and utterly repulsive pro-censorship language in guarantees of free speech still doesn't support your position. After all, free speech is an inherent right. It isn't granted by the state. And if the state infringes on it in a way that it claims is legal, that doesn't make it any less of an infringement. Whether a state oppresses its people a little or a lot, it's always the same thing.
That is, free speech does not give you right to infringe on the rights of others, specifically, authors and publishers' right to profit from their literary works.
No. There is no natural right to a copyright. A copyright is inherently, inescapably, censorship. It's a power of censorship that the state grants to a copyright holder, rather than exercising for itself, and it's a power used for avaricious purposes, rather than the more common purpose of securing and maintaining political power; but at the end of the day, being told that you cannot engage in some speech because it is seditious is little different than being told that you cannot because it doesn't respect the greed of the copyright holder.
Copyright and free speech are opposed to one another. You can't have both be natural rights. Plunk people down in a state of nature, and you'll see them engage in free speech straight away. But what we call copyright didn't even appear on the planet until 1710, and then only in England, and didn't seriously catch on until the 19th century and then largely helped along by European colonialism, which was generally a shitty thing.
The reason, of course, is that copyright is wholly artificial. And it could never be justified -- among those who think it can be justified -- as simply being infringement of free speech in order to let copyright holders charge monopolistic prices for books and such. No, it has to be justified as being beneficial to the very same public who has to suffer the embarrassment of copyright's existence.
opyrighted works don't fall under freedom of speech because they are already widely available for a very low price -- so it's already virtually free
First, that is not even a little bit true; copyrighted works are typically less available than public domain works. And always less available if you control for varying levels of popularity, simply because all else being equal, public domain works can be published by anyone, anywhere, without needing permission, and without any charge.
Second, are you not a native English speaker? "Free" has two very different meanings here. I have been talking about free speech in the sense that there is a liberty to speak. Why you suddenly jumped into "virtually free" as in, it has a low but greater than zero monetary cost, is beyond me. It's totally a non sequitur.
Copying and distributing copyrighted works has very little to do with freedom of speech -- that copyrighted material is not yours to distribute
The only thing preventing it is copyright. And eventually, the copyright on a work vanishes, and then nothing prevents it.
And just for those people following along at home, the original point of all this was that someone claimed that Apple ought to have the right to collude with publishers because they should be free to have any business arrangements they want and that no one should be able to dictate to them what they can and cannot do.
And I had pointed out that if no one can dictate what people can and cannot do, there is no grounds for copyright, which is a copyright holder empowered by the state, itself empowered by the willingness of the people to be governed by it, telling people what they can and cannot do.
If copyright can legitimately exist, then so can antitrust law.