Daily Archives: August 19, 2009

Remember that intellectual property is a tool

I can normally rely on the sarcasm of IPKat to make me smile!  This article was no exception; an analysis of the verbatim on the new UK Pirate Party website (born from a movement connected to the Pirate Bay case blogged here on a number of occasions). 

The Pirate Party’s over simplification of the negative aspects of IP laws got me thinking about the IP debate within our arena of “public goods”. 

An analogy Victoria Henson-Apollonio recently used sumed it up nicely for me — she said:

“think of IP as a tool, like a hammer you can use it to knock a nail into a piece of wood, or you can smash a window..!”

There are some critics out there in the blogosphere who seem to be ideologically against intellectual property protection, and there are emotive and compelling arguments in this camp.  The issue of the Enola patent is a great example of badly applied IPRs.  But equally, well managed IP can be hugely beneficial to developing economies.  Imagine the African music industry with no copyright protection.  Or a research partnership agreement with a private sector partner and no clauses to clarify freedom to disclose results.  We just need to make sure the tool is used correctly to keep it away from the windows!