Digital IP Protection
Developing Expertise in Protecting Intellectual Property in Digital Form
Digital Intellectual Property is intellectual property in digital format. Industries that produce digital intellectual property now account for a sizable and growing portion of the economy and international trade. However, all businesses and individuals store, create, or otherwise handle some sort of digitalized information. The reality of digital information poses problems surrounding the use and re-use of information, and the rights and responsibilities of rights holders and consumers under existing laws. Protecting digital intellectual property encourages increased levels of innovation and creativity, resulting in the acceleration of progress.
Digital IP (dIP) represents a sizable and rapidly growing portion of the global economy. While dIP encourages innovation, creativity, and economic growth - protecting it poses a challenging task, and is difficult for a number of reasons. Digital products are not tangible, and can be reproduced at a very low cost with the potential for immediate delivery via the Internet across virtually unlimited geographic markets. There are many stakeholders that can represent a broad range of legitimate concerns. It is important to understand what these different concerns are and how they affect these stakeholders.
Content creators produce dIP in order to maximize return on their investment. Authors have different concepts of what constitutes a return on their investment and different strategies for handling intellectual property (“IP”). Both use the familiar model where content (typically music, video, and literature) relies on IP laws to provide exclusive rights. Others may be giving intellectual property away with an expectation of gaining other benefits (e.g., distributing free time-limited trial software in the expectation of building a market for commercial versions), and sharing dIP to enhance the developer community (e.g., providing open source software such as Linux and the Apache Web server), etc. Others intend to keep dIP private (e.g., establishing trade secrets or commercialization via licensing).
While laws, enforcement policies, and even cultural attitudes toward IP vary considerably by country, IT networks have global reach; hence it may be difficult to establish whose laws apply to the infringer. Reactively, the information may be moved to a country where laws and enforcement are more lenient.