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Old 05-16-2002, 07:23 PM   #1
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A certain unnamed person who's site was removed from this site originally brought this up. I was under the impression, according to how it was phrased, that it was based on the unapproved use of a person's or product's name.

Now, I am pretty sure I misinterpretted it. This is why laws should be written in a way that a 3 year old could easily understand. No muss, no fuss and less misinterprettation.

The information I could find on what makes an Intellectual Property Right seems rather long-winded. Short of a lawsuit between K-Mart and another party about some item, it did not provide me with much enlightenment.

In the simplest of terms, could you explain what it is and how it protects a person? This is mainly open to Kavir and Orion, but anyone can answer.
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Old 05-17-2002, 05:28 AM   #2
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What it is:
Originally Posted by
Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.

Intellectual property is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs.
Straight from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) web site.

How does it protect the IP owner?
Originally Posted by
Generally speaking, Intellectual Property law aims at safeguarding creators and other producers of intellectual goods and services by granting them certain time-limited rights to control the use made of these productions.
Also from the WIPO Site.
The documentation found there is quite extensive, and quite readable as well. I recommed starting with the IP handbook.

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Old 05-19-2002, 06:09 AM   #3
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Essentially, you can have rights over property, both tangible and intangible. Intellectual property is the name for the law regarding one set of intangible property rights. (Other intangible property rights include things such as right of quiet enjoyment, but a discussion of that is not necessary at the moment). Intellectual property contains such things as copyright, patents, and trademark, and is wholly governed by the Federal government.

The following is from the University of Chicago Law Review. I know you won't know the INS case, but this should still be helpful.

"That an individual has the right to reap what he has sown, however, is far from self-evident even as applied to tangible property. We cannot talk intelligibly about an individual's rights until we have established a set of entitlements. We typically can reap only the wheat we sow on our own land, and how land becomes private property in the first place remains a mystery. In any event, wheat and information are fundamentally different from one another. It is the nature of wheat or land or any other tangible property that possession by one person precludes possession by anyone else. A court must decide that A should get the wheat or that B should get the wheat. It cannot decide that both get all of it. Many people, however, can use the same piece of information. Millions can watch the same television program without interfering with one another.

The value of the information to AP derived in part from its ability to keep its rivals from copying the information it gathered. But deciding that it could not enjoy its news exclusively is not the same as telling a farmer he must hand over wheat he has grown to someone who merely watched him grow it. Deciding against AP would not mean that it would lose all revenue from its news- gathering efforts. People would still pay for the AP's news, and its rights would be entirely unaffected in the towns that the AP served exclusively.

That the analogy between wheat and information does not apply with full force, however, does not mean that it should not apply at all. One can still argue that individuals have the right to enjoy the fruits of their labors, even when the labors are intellectual. But granting individuals exclusive rights to the information they gather conflicts with other rights in a way that granting exclusive rights to tangible property does not. In a market economy, granting individuals exclusive rights to property is an effective way of allocating scarce resources. Saying that someone should be able to own a particular good or piece of land and should be able to keep others from getting it unless they pay him is unobjectionable once one accepts the desirability of a market economy. Granting exclusive rights to information does not, however, necessarily promote a market economy. Competition depends upon imitation. One person invests labor and money to create a product, such as a food processor, that people will buy. Others may imitate him and take advantage of the new market by selling their own food processors. Their machines may incorporate their own ideas about how such machines should be made. As a result, the quality of the machines may rise and their price may fall. The first person is made worse off than he would be if he had had an exclusive right to his idea, because his competitors are enjoying the fruits of his labor and are not paying for it. Nevertheless, the public as a whole may be better off, as long as this freedom to imitate does not destroy the incentive for people to come up with new devices."

This may or may not have helped. But, since you seem to be on a quest to understand IP a little better, I thought it might be food for thought. If you would like more information, just post it and I will see what I can do.
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