What Is Intellectual Property?

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It’s become a cliché that most Australians are part of an information society or information economy. In fact, we’re all part of an intellectual property society. Intellectual property (IP) affects what we consume and what we create. It also affects when we’re born and when we die, given modern medicine is founded on pharmaceuticals and devices that are encouraged by intellectual property law.

This article offers a snapshot, quick and irreverent, of what IP is, why it’s controversial, and the difference between some key terms.

In essence, IP law provides rights owners with the power to stop unauthorised copying. That power is for a finite period of years. At the end of the period (which can be as little as five years) the owners’ rights evaporate...

Continue reading Bruce Baer Arnold's article: IP, patents, copyright, you

Further Reading

Intellectual property is generally characterized as non-physical property that is the product of original thought. Typically, rights do not surround the abstract non-physical entity; rather, intellectual property rights surround the control of physical manifestations or expressions of ideas. Intellectual property law protects a content-creator's interest in her ideas by assigning and enforcing legal rights to produce and control physical instantiations of those ideas.

Legal protections for intellectual property have a rich history that stretches back to ancient Greece and before. As different legal systems matured in protecting intellectual works, there was a refinement of what was being protected within different areas. Over the same period several strands of moral justification for intellectual property were offered: namely, personality-based, utilitarian, and Lockean. Finally, there have been numerous critics of intellectual property and systems of intellectual property protection...

Continue reading the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Intellectual Property by Moore & Himma

Related Topics

If you’re interested in intellectual property, check out some of the following related topics for more resources:

 Free Speech | Freedom | Justice | Political Philosophy

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