Creative Commons, OERs and Beyond

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property refers to products of the mind or intellect.  It is the natural right to control the use and distribution of one's artistic, literary, or technological creation. It covers a wide range of products from a new drug to a new innovative steel manufacturing process and everything in between.  

There are several important characteristics of intellectual property:

  1. Enjoyment by one person does nothing to damage or exclude the enjoyment by other people, it can't be "used up"
  2. Hard to appropriate for private gain - it can be copied, pirated, etc.  While copyright, patents, trademarks, and other laws and protections exist they are hard to enforce and litigation can be costly and long
  3. Markets for intellectual property do not function well - it is hard to sell an idea for a new manufacturing process without giving away all the details and then it is difficult to prove who had the idea first

There are generally four justifications for the protection of intellectual property:

  1. Disclosure
  2. Innovation
  3. Product Investment
  4. Design Development

Links to documents related to Intellectual Property