IP Friend or Foe
In my blog post I asked “should we have a right to benefit from our labor regardless of the form it takes? Be that labor a tangible item like a painting that hangs on a wall or a book that rests on a shelf should it be attributed to the creator and should the creator have the right to decide the future of that work? Should the creator be compensated for the current work and all future authorized derivative works from their labor?”
In the blog post IP: Friend or Foe by Tatiana Piatanova I found an interesting thought I have been pondering. Tatiana states
largely because of technological advances such as the Internet, we live in time of “shared knowledge” (or “shared properties” if you will) available to anyone who has an internet connection. I think on a very basic level, what the current state of IP is trying to do is an equivalent of preventing an airplane trespassing over your house. And instead of concentrating on the idea of how amazingly wonderful it is to be able to get from one place to another for all common good, it is evoking the idea of traveling on foot through a landscape filled with “No Trespassing” signs.
The statement of “for all common good” is one used by many to defend the stance of relaxing or removing IP rights. I see that statement as bouncing against the question in my blog where I ask, “should we have a right to benefit from our labor regardless of the form it takes” I can not reconcile the rights of one against the rights of many. Maybe I never learned to share in Kindergarten but to me if I have a great thought, work, product, or statement I should be allowed to protect it and further should be allowed to decide its future use. It is up to me, the rights holder, to then decide if the future use matches my vision and if so I am free to grant sub rights. I really don’t want my landscape disturbed by trespassers. As the rights holder I chart the path for the IP as it benefits me and my goal or mission.
Noelle Mischenko had a similar thought in her blog. She used the Tesla example of open source on their IP. In her blog she noted “Musk attention is not on hiding a secret formula from his rivals, but on the top-notch developers who are drawn to the software and can make the product better. ” Musk has decided the path for his IP. What a brilliant way to tap into a free labor pool. Instead of hiring engineers Musk has an army of developers working in their garage, free of charge, all in hopes of linking their star to that of Tesla. While the statement of open IP sounds benevolent, I go back to follow the money. Open IP benefits the company in this case but as the IP belongs to Tesla I like that they are free to decide how open to make it.