by Mike Masnick

Free Content Is A Promotional Good

from the look-at-that dept

People keep telling me that no one will ever create any "intellectual property" without being able to directly benefit off of it. In a discussion with the head of a "think tank" this week, I was told that "No intellectual property will EVER get created" (emphasis was his) without intellectual property laws. That seems pretty easy to disprove, considering (a) the amount of intellectual property created prior to intellectual property laws and (b) the amount of intellectual property created these days that doesn't use IP laws to protect itself. The simple fact is that there are other business models that don't require you to rely on bad intellectual property laws to make money. Here's yet another example. A guy who has been trying to break into the feature movie making business spent $30,000 of his own money to make a short 8 minute film called Batman: Dead End. Someone put the film online, and suddenly everyone in Hollywood wants to hire him. If the content is free, it can be used as a promotional item for future services. This guy has done that, without even realizing it.

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  • identicon
    Ed Halley, 8 Aug 2003 @ 11:37am

    No Subject Given

    The term 'intellectual property' is too vague and diverse to have much meaning in this context.

    If you write, sculpt, photograph or mould something, then you are automatically the sole owner of all copy rights to that thing. If you sell a product or service under a given name long enough, you may have a de facto trademark.

    The USA recognizes copyrights, trademarks, patents, and trade secrets as intellectual properties. Use of each of these are governed by contracted license between parties.

    If you create any of the above, then you're "using IP laws to protect it," even if you do nothing else. You can sue with or without registrations and prove your post facto creation in the trial, albeit registrations make a case stronger.

    Now, of course it's a fallacy to say NOBODY or NEVER in just about any circumstance. People bequest their creations as well as their physical property, and sometimes just for the good will.

    Of course, even "good will" is an accountable line item if you really get down to details.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mike, 8 Aug 2003 @ 11:52am

      Re: No Subject Given

      Agreed. The wording I used was inaccurate. However, I'm just trying to give some examples of people doing creative works even when they won't get paid directly for them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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