Intellectual property (IP) and copyright have become big name terms in recent years. The rise of unlicensed digital file sharing, combined with subjective interpretations of what the concepts mean, has led to furious flurries of opinion on the subject, emphasising the divide between artists, consumers and industry leaders.
Artistic license is often a phrase wielded with abandon but, back in the real world, if you’ve just built a wall is it right for someone to claim that they built it? Of course not. So if a comedian comes up with a joke is it right that someone else can claim it as theirs? The immediate response would be no. But has the aforementioned comedian patented or copyrighted the joke? Or do they think it’s their joke but it’s actually one that someone else may have already come up with it, or at least a version of it. There lies the grey area. Let’s break this down further. Does that mean it’s wrong to tell a joke down the pub or to friends over dinner? The simple answer is no, unless you claim the joke for your own. But who’s to say it isn’t anyway?
This is one of many examples of how complex intellectual property can be. It’s no joke to be ripped off and this serves to underline just how vital it is for authors and publisher to fully understand the rights they own to their works. And how understanding them correctly can lead to maximising the income revenue streams across a range of IP.
All businesses, whether large or small – no matter what the sector, are in possession of a range of IP which may have the potential to be extremely valuable. Some may consider this area of the market to be less flexible or less prone to change than others but, in light of recent Government proposals to fast-track changes in copyright legislation which are set to have “devastating consequences” for the design publishing industry, this is not always to case.
As such it remains vital for all publishers to keep fully abreast of any developments in the IP/copyright fields and equally important is the speed required to implement all the necessary tools to keep pace with any transformations which may be in the pipeline.