Angie Raymond

Indiana University Business Law and Ethics

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Do intellectual property protections run afoul with collaborative consumption?

Collaborative consumption is being heralded as the new consumer based platform that pushes the industry into new areas of cooperation and sharing, instead of consumption and ownership. But these ideas seem to run afoul of the well ingrained ideas of intellectual property and ownership. The time has come to reform intellectual property laws so that they reflect the current reality of a creative, online based culture. Reform can and should only be done if the current perspectives on the online community can be accommodated. These reforms will demand a new approach to the protection of intellectual property rights, with a refocusing on protections that protect and encourage the creative process via a collaborative approach to creation. Instead of an ownership based regime which restricts use based on ownership rights.

  • Jun 27 2012: This issue is way too complex for me to offer a solution, but it is clear that the old paradigms are dead.

    I used to watch a video tape in my living room and invite a bunch of friends over to watch it, and that was perfectly acceptable. I can now purchase a DVD, play it on the computer and invite the whole world to watch it with me. This change in scale makes this unacceptable.

    I suspect that distribution software will become sophisticated enough so that one day we will have to pay every time we hear a song or watch a video. While this seems unfair compared to the old paradigm, the future progress of technology will have more to do with shaping our laws than our past history.
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    Jun 5 2012: Angie, as you are an attorney in this area, could you elaborate on how current IP law restricts collaborative consumption? I know that patent and copyright is intended to provide an incentive for people and firms to make investments in R and D by allowing them to offset these costs with the proceeds of their successes, but that is all I know. I thought that patent/copyright could be held by participants in a collaboration to motivate their R and D investments also.
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      Jun 13 2012: Well, my thought was that IP rights create a protection over IP in a manner that does not allow us to pass on our 'used' items. For example, I can pass on a cd or dvd under the first sale doctrine (its why video game resale shops were popular for a bit) but the same would be difficult in the online world- both because of this hyper need to overprotect from piracy and because of technology that prevents the transfer. So, I was questioning if we should rethink IP Protections that do not allow me to pass on my online purchased items to firends- as long as I dont post things online for the world to download.......

      I just struggle with the fact that I do not own much of what I buy online- and what I do own I cannot pass on without being an online pirate....