Open Source Strategy Research Blog

Updating business strategy for a world embracing open source

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Why just copyright? What about other forms of IP?

It has been brought to my attention that I might be unnecessarily limiting the scope of the research by focusing it exclusively of the impact of changes in attitude towards copyright.

In the general populace—the populace whose views about copyright are changing—doesn’t understand the distinction between different forms of intellectual property, such as copyright, trademark, patent, industrial design, or trade secret.  As such, perhaps it would be more accurate to cast the net wider to cover perceptions towards intellectual property in general, and not just copyright.  Obviously the research would have to classify the assessments according to type of IP to test whether or not there are different views for different types.

Further, different jurisdictions around the world have different divisions between different forms of IP.  In North America, the legislation is pretty clear for the division between copyright, and patent.  Elsewhere, the divisions are different, and the subject matter that may be protected under different laws is different.  This legislative difference may be as a result of the different international attitudes towards IP, or it may be the cause (or it may have no relation, of course).  A classification of all the different IP legislation in different jurisdictions around the world seems to be a good starting point.

This discussion is particularly interesting in the context of open source, as we are seeing changes to open source licenses to account for the possibility that software—previously thought to only be protected under copyright law—may, in fact, be patentable.  Researching these areas further could help forecast the evolution of open source licenses to contend with future legislative changes, or future attitude changes in the populace.  That’s wishful thinking, for sure, but I like to aim high.

Thoughts?

posted by Mekki at 4:01 pm  

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