Our first set of readings for ITP’s Video and Sound communications sound lab focused on the inevitability of reusing other’s work in the effort to make something new.
ITP is a program at the intersection of art, design, and technology. These fields are always changing rapidly, but have recently been running into intellectual property law issues that are resurfacing the question of whether intellectual property law needs an overhaul.
property law is the wrong framework for technology and the arts
Overall, the readings firmly reject the applicability of property law to art. I’ve previously heard arguments that art is a type of technology, and I think most of the arguments made in the readings about copyrighted properties could also be applied to technology and patent right issues.
intellectual output cannot be parceled
The main argument for why property law doesn’t work well as a foundation for intellectual property law is that all creative outputs rely on those that came before them. A piece of creative or technology cannot be parceled separately from the rest of history whether explicitly reusing past material or extending an advance that came before.
ownership scope needs to be revisited
There is also a danger that intellectual property law will have the opposite of its intended effect, to encourage development. IP law was originally supposed to provide an incentive for the generation of new ideas. However, the combination of a loose scope of ownership and the high cost of legal defense might overweigh the incentive that copyright law provides.
In technology, patent trolling is one of the worst examples of how scope can be exploited. In the arts, the ruling in the copyright case over the Robin Thicke song “Blurred Lines” also has many people worried litigation will become more popular.