Episode Information

Who Should Own Ideas?
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
01/14/2009
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In this episode:

Intellectual property laws--protecting ideas or cramping innovation?

 

Episode Audio

48:45 minutes (23.4 MB)
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In an information age with calls for innovation coming from leaders in every sector, from the halls of Washington, D.C., to the factories of Detroit, how are the rules governing ideas keeping up?  James Boyle joins us on Where We Live today to talk about his new book, The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind, now out from Yale University Press.  We'll ask: does the expansion of intellectual property protection threaten innovation in music, art, medicine....progress as we know it?  Now that millions of ideas and images are shared every minute on the web, policy has, thus far, worked mostly to limit that sharing through copyright, patent, and trademark laws.  We'll talk to lawyers who specialize in intellectual property about ideas--and who should own them.

 

 


 
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Now that millions of ideas

Now that millions of ideas and images are shared every minute on the web, policy has, thus far, worked mostly to limit that sharing through copyright, patent, and trademark laws.  We'll talk to lawyers who specialize in intellectual property about ideas--and who should own them.

Interesting

It'll be interesting to see what new developments there are over the years, in terms of intellectual property/copyright laws, as the internet and social media continue to expand.

Maybe it's better to keep

Maybe it's better to keep ideas for our lawyers :)

 Information, including

 Information, including scientific information, is becoming an increasingly valuable marketplace commodity, a big business. In many cases, facts can be valuable in and of themselves. The creative organization, formatting, or interpretation of those facts offered by the data provider not only are unimportant, but can even be impediments between researchers and the information they seek to use.

Response to Nicholas from James Boyle

This is a really good point.  The short answer is that law (whether or not it is copyright law) ought to recognize individuals' privacy interests more than it does.  The use of copyright protection mechanisms -- such as digital rights management -- has worrying privacy implications as you suggest.  Of course we want to protect the interests of copyright holders, but if that depends on a system that tracks what you read, view, listen to, we ought to be very concerned. 
Best, James

listener email from Nicholas

I understand the interest that copyright industries have in the preservation of their commercial interests though the use of copyright or Intellectual Property Law. What is harder to understand is where the rights of individuals are protected with respect to security and privacy by companies making use of various technologies to see what we do online overall, either to make sure we aren't using content we haven't paid for, or just to enable better targeted advertising.

Shouldn't IP law protect persons while it protects "property"?

Reply from James Boyle

Great question.  The main issue here would be the law of "fair use" which is described in this comic book guide to copyright law www.law.duke.edu/comics   A non commercial, transformative use, of a small section of a piece of mass media would be the strongest case for fair use. But even commercial uses can be fair use (think of Jon Stewart excerpting other news programs on his show) so long as they are commentary, or criticism, or parody rather than mere slavish copying and representing of the original -- "Here's Elvis's best songs!"  In terms of permissions -- Susan Bleistein's book -- Permissions: A Survival Guide -- is strongly recommended.
Best, James

Listener email from Beth

I was wondering if James Boyle could discuss using copyrighted imagery in fine art and in social commentary of the mass media. Are there legal ways to aquire and use mass media imagery? Are there laws and practices that artists should know when they want to use mass media imagery in their artwork? Can you simply cite these images in the same way an academic would cite the references they use and quote?

Great topic! Thanks!

Listener email from Nicholas

I understand the interest that copyright industries have in the preservation of their commercial interests though the use of copyright or Intellectual Property Law. What is harder to understand is where the rights of individuals are protected with respect to security and privacy by companies making use of various technologies to see what we do online overall, either to make sure we aren't using content we haven't paid for, or just to enable better targeted advertising.

Shouldn't IP law protect persons while it protects "property"?

Listener email from Tamara

I am writing a dissertation for a doctorate in music.  I am writing vocal singing exercises that I learned in the oral tradition of studying singing.
If these are not previously written in a book, how do I cite my source or do I even need to?

Tamara

Listener email from Carol

While you're talking about computers, it reminds me of an issue of lack of  standardization that troubles me.
Whatever I buy these days seems to contain pieces and parts that aren't interchangeable with similar parts from a similar object.
For instance, my fridge has a 15 w appliance light bulb produced by a company I never heard of & is not readily available in local hardware stores.
A radio I just bought requires a DC adapter - not included. I have 3 three DC adapters - and none of them fit this radio.
My chain saw required a unique socket wrench.
The connectors for computers are, for an older person like me, so complex and so unavailable at a local store......
ETc, Etc.

I can't afford to keep buying new widgets.
I can't shop locally if there are so many varieties like I described above.

It's just not a sustainable system.

 

Agree

In my opinon it is a must  to protect the copyright owners.

Patents and other legal

Patents and other legal documents are made to foster innovation, not prevent it. If all information was free to the public then there would be no money made in new information, and thus no incentive for innovation such as viral marketing.

I completely agree with

I completely agree with Michael's comment above.  It also provides great motivation for those to create great innovations in which they can patent and feel protected in order to reap the full benefits of their hard work. 

..

I completely agree with Michael's comment above.  It also provides great motivation for those to create great innovations in which they can patent and feel protected in order to reap the full benefits of their hard work.