Talk:Intellectual property/Archive 2

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I've archived the talk page that was here as it was getting too long, so feel free to bring back and revive any discussion that was ongoing Philbradley 00:23, 22 August 2006 (UTC)

Purpose section[edit]

I took the liberty of editing the Purpose section earlier and I was slammed with a bunch of citation neededs. I reread what I wrote and I barely recognized what I was trying to say, so what I've done now is to expand the section, and include a new subheading that separates the discussion about misconceptions of purpose, and of course provided extremely good citations by Lessig and others. Rudd-O (talk) 05:19, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Someone added verify credibility on this text that I added: "Private property is subject to decay; inventions and works aren't.". First of all, I don't think you need to verify credibility on the fact that private property decays, while abstract ideas don't (unless your definition of decay is disconnected from reality). Second, the reference I provided is from Lawrence Lessig. You know, that expert on copyright that has written numerous books on the subject, created Creative Commons, and is a tenured professor? Third, I bothered to read the entire article and it's sound. I think we can make an exception for the fact that this reference is self-published by Lessig, and remove the "Verify credibility" thingie, or someone can take the time to dig in Lessig's third-party-publisher books and find a reference (I'm sure he has it on his books, I've read three of them and he makes the same argument). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rudd-O (talkcontribs) 06:31, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

I think whoever used the word credibility may have meant accuracy, and I think the conceptualisation of rights can be explored more generally on this page. I'm a little confused by the phrase private property, is that is contradistinction to public property? Or is it in contradistinction to real property (unlikely from context as both are susceptible to decay). Finally that you could explain the difference between tangible and intangible property so that it is clear that it is the subject matter which is susceptible to decay and not the rights in respect of the subject matter as the rights are necessarily intangible and as a result rights in respect of either private or intellectual or whatever are not susceptible to decay unless they could be described as decaying legally somehow by reason of time etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:47, 30 April 2009 (UTC)


How did you make that little picture for the archives? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Smith Jones (talkcontribs)

It's a copy paste of code suggested for archives by Wikipedia:How to archive a talk page. Glad you like it.Philbradley 08:35, 4 September 2006 (UTC)


I removed the following text, as I am unsure whether it is at best slightly inaccurate and maybe evenleaning towards POV (and it's unsourced too):

The creation of a musical composition, invention, valuable software may have cost little, and can generate a very high income. Profit margins from IP are typically much higher than profit margins from manufacturing of tangible goods.

I think that is simplifying the situation too much. Particularly where innovation is concerned, I don't think that you can generally say that the R&D costs are "little". Also, as a patent attorney myself, I know the costs of obtaining patent protection can be pretty steep, especially for your smaller companies. --Harris 10:59, 26 December 2006 (UTC)

Paul Lerner[edit]

I have nominated the article about Paul Lerner for deletion. If you want to participate to the debate, please see Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Paul Lerner. --Edcolins 13:40, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

The Jewish law line[edit]

Jewish law does historically have something to say about "intellectual property" considerations, but the line I found was misleading and missed the point, so I revised it and added a much more useful/appropriate link. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

External Links[edit]

Jonathan Freed just took the rather brash step of removing the entire content of the external links section with the =edit message:

"remove extraneous external links (all); time for the regular contributors to start from scratch; Wikipedia is not a web directory"

Wikipedia is not a collection of links and the page was out of control. While I think removing the whole list was an overreaction I do think that starting from scratch was a good idea. I've pasted the list before. If you want to read something from the list below, please make the case briefly here. Thanks! —mako (talkcontribs) 00:08, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Judgments
    • Davoll v. Brown, 1 Woodb. & M. 53, 3 West.L.J. 151, 7 F.Cas. 197, No. 3662, 2 Robb.Pat.Cas. 303, :Merw.Pat.Inv. 414.

I'm going to re-add IP Newsflash, IP Justice, and the UNESCO IP link. Each of them seems to be legimate sites that are, in fact, good external links for people wanting learn more about IP in general. —mako (talkcontribs) 00:15, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

Arguably bold, not "brash", when it's easily undone. In any case, thank you for following my edit with a constructive one. JonathanFreed 03:25, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

The external links throughout the law sections of Wikipedia are of generally poor quality - those that were removed from this page - IP - were pretty ramshackle. The books are just a list, they are not core texts. Those that were put back are nothing special either, to be frank. IP Newsflash, run by Rolf Claessen is a good site, but then Kuesters should also be included kuesterlaw, as should Patently-O, the IP blog that most practising IP lawyers in the US will read and which attracts a lot of comment. The UNESCO link is to a lugubrious site that has not been updated in years, though it does contain texts of important treaties. The others are worthy enough, but look at IP from a narrow perspective of specific campaign issues. At this level, they are specialist sites. Also, why not the major world patent offices - USPTO, UK-IPO, JPO and EPO? The British Library and the Library of Congress also contain major international, English-language resources on the subject. Finally, links to legislation should include the UK Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act from the US and the EU Designs Directive, being the key modern legislation in the field. Links to the relevant chapters of the US Code should also be included. LegalDay/Intellectual Property provides links to IP issues in the news, as well as to documents, deals, articles by lawyers on recent cases. These would provide an authentic core of external links relevant to a high-level Wikipedia page, rather than a miscellany of good causes. LeoSchulz 11:14, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

I see no problem with adding Kuesters and Patently-O. Go ahead and remove the UNESCO link. I only looked at it quickly. I think most of the patent offices should (or are?) listed above under in the "See Also" section. For offices that have Wikipedia articles, this is preferable than linking to their external site here.
In general, I think that this article should link to sites about IP in general. The site already contains links to the articles on Copyright, Patent, and Trademark and the laws and organizations closely associated with those types of law should be linked from those articles and not from this one. That said, if there really is a core, Canonical page on an important subarea, I'm not going to fight that too hard. —mako (talkcontribs) 15:05, 18 April 2007 (UTC)
WIPO is in See Also, which I accept is probably the right place for links to entries to the US, EU, UK and Japanese offices do not have their own entries. My feeling is that there should be a link here to the UK CDP Act as it was part of the development of the idea of 'intellectual property' as a coherent subject in the 1980s. The US DMC Act is perhaps more about an aspect of IP and perhaps it should go elsewhere. Both have good entries on Wikipedia. My point about UNESCO was not so much that it shouldn't be here as that it was not necessarily a priority relative to others. Leo Schulz 16:55, 18 April 2007 (UTC)

convenience break[edit]

None of the four sites currently in the External Links section comply with WP:EL. I've deleted the entire section; it was restored with a reference to the talk page, but the talk page makes no attempt to justify it with reference to the Wikipedia policies.

IPnewsflash is an indiscriminate set of feeds created to generate Google ad revenue. Also USA-centric. No special reason to link to this. WP:EL#Links_normally_to_be_avoided #3, #9.

There are lots of NGOs that look at IP issues:[1] [2] [3]. I don't see why IPJustice and IPWatch, each of which are less notable, get special treatment. Either link to all of them or none of them, but if you're going to link to two, there's no reason they should be these two.

The UNESCO IP site hasn't been updated in years, and is also an indiscriminate search result rather than a useful site. Not compliant with WP:EL. See WP:EL#Links_normally_to_be_avoided #9. THF 23:52, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

NPOV ?[edit]

Curmudeon991 21:57, 7 July 2007 (UTC)From my reading, the entire Intellectual Property article does not reflect a neutral point of view. If I had no prior knowledge of the subject, I might be left by the article with the opinion that intellectual property laws are generally a bad thing or obsolete.

There are certainly intellectually honest and valid criticisms of the notion of intellectual property itself, and the laws in many jurisdictions that support it. However, the article as it stands appears biased toward this perspective, and presents factual objective explanations of intellectual property almost as an afterthought.

To achieve a neutral point of view, I would suggest that the "Controversy", "Critique", and "Arguments against the term" subheads might better be consolidated under "Controversy", made more concise, and moved to the end of the article.

It is worth noting that the "Controversy" sections are longer than the meat of the article itself.

The irony should not be lost on the reader that the Wikipedia article on Intellectual Property may itself be in violation of the very laws it describes. "This article or section contains insufficiently sourced phrases. Using inline citations helps guard against copyright violations and factual inaccuracies."

Some might argue that this article approaches an evangelical crusade for a particular point of view (against the current state of IP and the associated body of law).

It is possible that many contributers to Wikipedia (by the nature of the project itself) may share this point of view (and may agree to varying extents with Richard Stallman, for example). However, this is not the only perspective on the subject of IP, and is certainly not a neutral point of view. (While this POV is certainly very relevant and should absolutely be reflected in the article, it should not be presented as the objective truth, fact, or even as the dominant opinion.)

Clearly we live in an interesting time concerning IP. Some would argue that we are on the cusp of a sea change in IP unrivaled since the time of Gutenberg (who should probably be mentioned in this article).

In light of this, the "Controversy" sections might be better encapsulated in the underdeveloped "Intellectual property rights in the digital era" subhead. The digital era is clearly what is fueling current controversy and evolution in the subject of intellectual property.

Curmudeon991 Curmudeon991 21:57, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, the entire article is biased, not just the section. I've escalated the warning accordingly. RossPatterson 22:25, 19 October 2007 (UTC)
The problem is, the term itself is biased. Therefore, it is impossible to be objective. Objectivity will only be found in the article on copyright, the article on trademarks, the article on patents, etc. It is impossible to have an informed opinion on "Intellectual Property" as it lumps disparate bodies of law together. I suggest the article be shortened to briefly explain that point, why it is a controversial term (the bias of the term "property" and its the fact that its umbrella nature negates informed opinion), and have outgoing links to copyright, trademark, patent, etc. law. Gnuosphere —Preceding comment was added at 07:58, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
The topic is indeed controversial, but the article is just biased. "Intellectual property" is a matter of international law under exactly that term - for example the WTO TRIPS agreement, which of course is as controversial as the WTO itself. But phrases like "The noun "property" falsely implies that ideation is analogous to the construction of tangible objects", which you just restored in the opening paragraph, are clearly and obviously at odds with Wikipedia:Neutral Point of View. Cool Hand Luke actually did a nice job of recasting the biased text to something simple and neutral. Since NPOV is an overriding concern on WP, I've reverted the restoration. It's about time someone started moving this article towards neutrality, let's not nip it in the bud. RossPatterson 13:54, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
The term is frankly not that controversial except to a minority (and we document that controversy). Transferable entitlements, including state-conferred monopolies like patents and copyrights, are easily understandable as property. They have different aims, but they are all fundamentally state monopolies thought to benefit society. They are supposed to encouraging research (patents), expression (copyrights), or prevent market confusion (trademarks). This is why books and courses exist about "intellectual property"—they share some common elements and philosophy. The underlying disagreement—the true controversy—is to what extent these entitlements should exist and what exclusive rights they should confer. On that issue, this article is biased to the side of people like Richard Stallman. Cool Hand Luke 22:41, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
Although I agree with much of what Luke writes, I do have a concern about the very first sentence. I am sure it is true that considering the widespread adoption of the term, the dissenters are a minority. However that minority includes some very serious and well respected law scholars, people who's concerns and opinions should not be dismissed with a hand wave. Although the superficial definition of property includes defensible rights, which copyright holders certainly have, it also connotes unlimited discretionary powers and a natural right. It is clear from over a hundred years of jurisprudence that copyright et al. are not natural rights, and in fact the reverse is true: the natural rights all men enjoy is the free and unimpeded flow of information and ideas. If a term is misleading in nature, and induces people to think about things in a way that is counterproductive (or at least counter to the spirit of the law), than it is certainly fair to question the use of the term, and to provide warnings in a reference work. I support Curmudeon's proposal that the article would benefit from being pared down as much as possible, with pointers to relevant laws. Adam.Wasserman (talk) 13:45, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia uses the prevailing terminology; for our purposes, it is inherently the correct terminology. We also document notable criticisms of the terminology, which the scare-quotes on "properties" in the second sentence (rather generously, I think) foreshadow. By the way, I'd suggest that - for the purposes of editing WP articles - you set aside your conviction that "it is clear" that free information is a Natural Right and that thinking otherwise is "counter to the spirit of the law", because if it were that clear it wouldn't be a minority POV. - JasonAQuest (talk) 15:57, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
Prevailing does not always equal correct. To invoke Goodwin's Law and get over with, just consider Nazi Germany as an example of how prevailing definitions are not always morally correct, and how minority POVs (anti-Nazi within Germany at that time) need to be given due consideration. I recognize the criticisms included in the article, and in fact I join Curmudeon in feeling that they are too long-winded and the article could benefit tremendously from paring down. Lastly I am not editing WP articles, I am discussing same before doing so, and my expectation was the discussion could be a bit free flowing and forgiving. I could provide citations to back up my claim regarding natural rights. The supreme court has been consistent in this regard, so it is not so much personal conviction as a matter of public record. As to the spirit of copyright law, that also is set forth clearly in the Act, and has been confirmed by numerous supreme court judgments. a possible reason why it remains a minority POV is that not too many people are familiar with the Act or with the jurisprudence. Adam.Wasserman (talk) 20:23, 2 February 2008 (UTC)Adam
And by tradition, the first to demonstrate Godwin's Law is presumed to have lost the argument. :) But seriously, you're overlooking the context of my remarks. You say, "Prevailing does not always equal correct." That's true... but it does here. Wikipedia doesn't care what's "morally correct". It doesn't even take a position on whether Hitler was evil. As far as WP is concerned, the facts are whatever verifiable and reliable independent sources say they are. When the sources disagree, it gives prominence to the prevailing view and acknowledges other views to the extent that they're significantly represented among those sources. The "information wants to be free" doctrine certainly warrants coverage, but I think you're selectively reading the case law to give it more support than it does (e.g. I read the majority in Eldred v. Ashcroft as an indifferent "who cares?" about the public domain). So it comes down to what I think vs. what you think... which is why we're supposed to go only to outside sources for that kind of analysis. - JasonAQuest (talk) 23:39, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
This is a beautiful statement of our policy. Wikipedia is not a forum for original research, let alone moral reform. We simply follow reliable sources. Cool Hand Luke 01:39, 4 February 2008 (UTC)
Fair enough, that was the kind of reasoned response I was hoping to find on the discussion page. That in fact is why I chose to discuss before editing, to gain a better understanding of WP policy before creating extra work for anyone - on an article that is to messy to start with. Adam.Wasserman (talk) 02:13, 3 February 2008 (UTC)Adam

Why define the constituent words?[edit]

I'm not familiar with another introduction to IP that defines the words like this. Although it's no longer manifestly biased, I still think it's silly in the lead block. I presume that someone find it illuminating that "intellectual" means "concerning the intellect," but I can't see why. Cool Hand Luke 16:16, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Top-10 Intellectual Property Rights Mistakes[edit]

I realise there's a discussion above about external links, and i know little about the subject, but this link seems to provide a practical approach to the subject that is missing from the currently much too theoretical and much too detailed essay style of the article. --Espoo 17:44, 17 October 2007 (UTC)

Can this be reworded?[edit]

I ask because this is just a poor explanation and only looks at the problem from one side instead of from all sides. The theft in the case of IP is not of the property itself, but of the economic benefit gained from the possession of the copyright. For example: Jane sells copies of her book for $10 each. Joe makes a copy of Jane's book and sells it for $5. Jane loses $10 of income for each book Joe illegally sells, which is a deprivation of the rightful owner to her property--the income backed from the sale of her copyrighted material. The theft in this case is one of monetary income. And as we all know, money is property; money that should rightfully have gone to Jane and not Joe. Foofighter20x 22:31, 20 October 2007 (UTC)
Hahahaha, good one, "The theft in this case is one of monetary income.", well-played, sir. Sorry, but if you accept this theory, then it logically follows that if I refuse to put your products on my store shelves, no matter how good my reasons to not put them in my shelves are, you may sue me for "theft of monetary income" because "everyone knows the money should have gone to Jane!". Cockamamie idea which, lo and behold, has not been adopted by any sane legal system. "Oh, poor me, I made fewer millions!", bah humbug, we need to end this entitlement mentality and NOW. Rudd-O (talk) 05:31, 20 September 2008 (UTC)
Problem with your idea here is that while the loss of theft is clear and definite, Jane here only loses if the guys buying Joe's pirated goods will have choked up $10 to buy the original if only Joe wasn't pirating. With pirated goods having a price advantage of roughly 10:1 or even infinity (for piracy is increasing Internet based), the problem with this assumption is clear. --Kazuaki Shimazaki 07:27, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
Also, since we are discussing the basic concept of intellectual property itself ... why does Jane have an intrinsic right to sell her production on an exclusive basis? --Kazuaki Shimazaki 07:32, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
I think his point is that there's literature suggesting that the theft analogy isn't terrible. Since the whole point of exclusive rights is to create an incentive for creation, less exclusivity will tend to cause less return for IP. In a rational market, less would be invested in IP.
We aren't really supposed to take a stance on the issue. As written, the non-rivalry concept is covered in three different sections. It also says "information is fundamentally different from physical property in that there is no natural scarcity of a particular idea or information: once it exists at all, it can be re-used and duplicated indefinitely without such re-use diminishing the original" and "once one person eats an apple, no one else can eat it; if one person uses a plot of land on which to build a home, that plot is unavailable for use by others." This is a real criticism, but repeating it in almost every section of the article gives the erroneous impression that it's somehow a decisive argument. In other words, it's undue weight. Article is so disorganized that we would do well to restart. Cool Hand Luke 11:11, 23 October 2007 (UTC)
Oh, shi- I accidentally the non-rivalry concept in the Purpose subsection titled "misconceptions..." too! Mine is not as well-worded as this argument, and it could use a clear rewording, but I think it deserves to appear in the section that I created, since it directly addresses the first misconception about what patents and copyrights are NOT, and it's rather at the start of the article, so people don't have an excuse to miss it, because, folks, it truly is the most important argument if you're trying to prevent the nearing "candlemakers' copyright disaster". I also think that we could cross-pollinate the definitively matured argument about non-rivalry into the copyright and patent articles themselves. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rudd-O (talkcontribs) 05:37, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

It seems that this discussion has gone astray for a variety of reasons. It began with the supposed common-law definition of theft. I believe that common-law either does not mention theft at all, or only peripherally. The common-law equivalent seems to be larceny, which is defined from the viewpoint of the victim as being "deprived" of the good. Since intellectual property rights are are rights rather than physical property, the term "larceny" seems to have logical problems.

"Theft," on the other hand, seems to have a broader definition that means "improper acquisition," which does seem applicable to someone making a copy of a product covered by intellectual property, rather that is a book, a design, a trademark, or something else. Fundamentally, "steal" seems to be more commonly appropriate to the actions of the taker rather than the "victim."

There is a good discussion of larceny and stealing in R.B. Boone v USA, #7228, US Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, decided 17 July 1956. Note especially the lack of history for the common law usage of the term "steal" in the summary of this case. (Lonholder (talk) 18:22, 15 October 2009 (UTC))

Minor point: English spelling variety[edit]

I noticed that some of the article is written in British English, and I even Anglicized some spellings in my recent edit (assuming that was the article's predominant version). Actually, it looks like most of the article is American English, and the earliest versions seem to use US spelling. I hate to violate WP:ENGVAR, so I'd like to know if there are any objections to consistently adopting American English. I admit that it's easier for me, but I would be fine if we went either way. We just need consistency. Cool Hand Luke 22:55, 20 October 2007 (UTC)

Minor Point: Very bad grammar[edit]

Towards the end of the article:

"Though, TRIPS Agreement ..." you can't start a sentence with "Though", "However" or "Nonetheless" or "Despite This" are better. Actually to be honest I don't think I even understand the rest of that sentence - what was the person who wrote it trying to communicate?

There are also two examples of sentences starting with "But", I have removed the "But"s

Edwardando 22:50, 22 October 2007 (UTC)

Gads, that "Intellectual property rights in the digital era" section reminds me of George Orwell, "Politics and the English Language," 1946. It says very little with lots of superfluous jargon. I think the whole paragraph means something like:
"Although the TRIPS Agreement attempts to harmonize intellectual property law, technology has made enforcement more difficult throughout the world. No uniform legal response has emerged, leading to a conflict of laws. Content owners have attempted self-help by using technological measures like digital rights management, but critics doubt the effectiveness of these systems."
Can anyone else decipher the meaning? Is it even worth saving? It's uncited and it looks like it's copyright-specific. I think we would be fine removing the section. Cool Hand Luke 00:25, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

USPTO definition[edit]

According to [4], Intellectual property is

Creations of the mind - creative works or ideas embodied in a form that can be shared or can enable others to recreate, emulate, or manufacture them. There are four ways to protect intellectual property - patents, trademarks, copyrights or trade secrets

Could we use this in the article? Is it a copyright infringement? Is it in the public domain? Even if it is not, I believe it fair use. --Kushalt 19:40, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Federal work product is almost always public domain unless it's part of an agency that acts like a business or subcontractor. See Copyright status of work by the U.S. government. That glossary is an interesting document. I've never seen it before, but it's useful. Most scholars define more than four kinds of intellectual property though; other forms are possible. Cool Hand Luke 19:58, 23 October 2007 (UTC)

Americans are stupid and so is their english..Please refrian from transforming this work into more american crap.

Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:35, 20 March 2008 (UTC)

Remove Neutrality tag?[edit]

I read this article for the first time today and consider it extremely well balanced, albeit imperfect in logical structure and progression (yeah I know, I should improve it myself).

The "neutrality is disputed" tag at the top of the article is dated December 2007, yet there has been no discussion on this page for almost two months. Does that mean the dispute has been resolved and the tag can now be removed? If the tag is as recent as it looks, perhaps whoever put it there could state the issues with the current version of the article? Magnate (talk) 17:21, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

It looks like the tag was just dated this month. It's been around since July. The article is still massively biased against the concept of intellectual property, as discussed at #NPOV ? Cool Hand Luke 12:01, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
It probably stems from the economic growth section of the article, which is more of a discussion. It contains bias in each direction, one in responce to the other. It should probably be removed beacuse the follwing economic section, which discusses it economic impact, fills in any holes it may leave. Also, the repition of monopoly gives it a biased feel, beacuse monopolies have historically been a negative thing and this negivie connotaion has carried over to the word itself. --Uberursa (talk) 18:28, 16 September 2009 (UTC)

I just read this entry from beginning to end and consider it terribly biased by choice of language and phraseology. I also read the comments in other section relating to neutrality and believe the recommended changes would improve neutrality. For example, the portions of intellectual property should be written factually and the portions relating to disagreement with intellectual property could be listed under controversy. As it is, the entire article appears to verge on being polemic. Lonholder (talk) 20:31, 18 September 2009 (UTC)

Someone disputes the neutrality of the Nash equilibrium? Hello? Ratbertovich (talk) 17:37, 4 January 2010 (UTC)

Relevant to copyright?[edit]

Isn't this topic relevant to copyright? doesn't copyright protect intellectual property? also theres the creative commons icons that protect only a part of the violation of copyright i.e. theift of intellectual property, is technically punishable by law...unless you're in china, of course...=D I think this discussion should be linked to the Copyright page...just for referance...—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 13:43, 26 January 2008

Copyright is clearly part of IP. It says so in the lead blocks of both articles. I'm not sure what you're getting at. Cool Hand Luke 20:15, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Ah. It doesn't say so in this lead block. That is an oversight. I think the lead should be rewritten anyway. When rewritten it should enumerate copyright, patent, and trademark—which are the most well-known forms of IP. Cool Hand Luke 20:18, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Copyright doesn't protect I.P. you are misunderstanding what I.P. is. Copyright IS the I.P. -- (talk) 13:13, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

Objection to "legal concept"[edit]

I object on two grounds: a) the very definition of "legal concept" is under substantial debate and so it is contentious to claim that something is or isn't a legal concept. b) this implies that there is some body of law somewhere that specifically addresses "intellectual property". As far as I know, there is no such law. I am aware of copyright law, patent law, trademark law. There are (in the USA) acts and statutes for each of these three, but no law passed by congress that I am aware of creating "intellectual property" as a defined legal term.

I propose editing this article to read that "intellectual property" is an ad hoc term that has come into common usage.

Adam.Wasserman (talk) 20:23, 2 February 2008 (UTC)Adam

Who said it was a "legal term"? Also, please keep in mind that this is an encyclopedia in the English language, not a legal dictionary or document, nor are we in a court of law. We're allowed – even encouraged – to use comprehensible English here. "Legal concept" is a straightforward and clear English phrase which describes what "intellectual property" is: a concept that applies to legal matters. - JasonAQuest (talk) 21:18, 2 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree with Jason: the term "legal concept" and its usage in the article seem reasonable. -FrankTobia (talk) 00:13, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
WIPO uses the term since the 1960s. Scholars have used the term since the early 1800s. It's been employed in court opinions in the US since 1845 Davoll v. Brown, 7 F. Cas. 197 (Circuit Court, D. Massachusetts). Both copyright and patent rights are authorized by a single clause in the US Constitution—sometimes called the "Intellectual Property Clause." IP is a recognized grouping of law (a "legal concept") as witnessed by countless treatises about "intellectual property." Your proposed edit is absurd. Cool Hand Luke 07:02, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

I am pleased to accept the arguments presented here (which is why I chose to discuss first rather than simply edit the article). Cool Hand Luke: why so angry dude? Your pseudonym may have been well chosen... I post under my real name, it helps remind me to be civil. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Adam.Wasserman (talkcontribs) 13:53, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

I'm not angry, and I didn't mean to direct criticism to you personally. Many of the articles on IP and especially copyright are biased in favor of those who would put "property" in scare quotes. Although I'm not able to invest the time to improve these articles (and it honestly takes a lot of time to right new verifiable prose), I'm strongly opposed to muddying them further. Cool Hand Luke 17:29, 3 February 2008 (UTC)

Sorry if I took offense where none was intended. As you can see from other post here, I agree that this article is already waaay too muddy. I happen to disagree with the term property as applied to copyright, patent et al, but I also acknowledge the current usage, and am in favor of NPOV. Adam.Wasserman (talk) 20:23, 2 February 2008 (UTC)Adam

Whether or not you disagree with the term is, unfortunately, irrelevant as to whether or not the terms use is notable. The fact that most governments of the world (particularly those that signed WIPO treaties) use the term makes it a fact, no matter how well your argument may be reasoned. Making an argument doesn't change facts. (talk) 09:05, 23 April 2008 (UTC)


Any article on intellectual property on a website that calls itself a "free-content encyclopeida" is particluarly susceptible to WP:BIAS, so look out for that. Really, everyone is biased, some people just exercise enough self-restraint to keep that out of their edits. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:33, 28 February 2008 (UTC)

Considering how high of a profile this page is, it's a little embarrassing that this page is so disputed. However, it also seems problematic that no discussion has occurred recently on the nature of disputes. The subject interests me, so I might take a crack at it soon. In the meantime, if anyone has specific concerns about this page at this point in time, rather than a month ago when it was last discussed, let's open it up for discussion. Here's my concern: Should a page about a subject be largely about critics' views. Perhaps a new page should be created, Criticisms of Intellectual Property? I don't have the time now, but it could be a fun project. Please share your thoughts. --Stargat (talk) 17:56, 6 March 2008 (UTC)

Creating Separate Page for Criticism and Reorganization[edit]

Having heard no objection to the creation of a separate page for the very long section devoted to criticisms of intellectual property, I've moved most of it to a new page. I left in an abbreviated version of the section, which provides a link to the main page. I can't vouch that this is the best possible version of a paragraph, let alone the best possible version of the other page, either. I also moved the Controversy section down, or rather the History section up. I think this order makes more sense. Obviously the page still needs a lot of work, so I'll see what I can do later. --Stargat (talk) 17:06, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Wow, I didn't realize the criticism section was so long. Good work! -FrankTobia (talk) 22:12, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
The controversy section is still abnormally long for such a broad topic as intellectual property. This should be moved to the criticism page, leaving this page fairly brief. A simple discussion of the four big areas of IP should suffice, with a brief synopsis of its history, general criticisms, and economic appeal. Specific information such as IP valuation, criticism, and the development and practice of each branch of IP should be on its own page. Biccat (talk) 21:40, 27 March 2008 (UTC)biccat
I think I agree that the Controversy section should be moved. Frankly, that section and the Valuation entry are problematic -- lack of sourcing and some POV issues, especially in the latter. Valuation deserves a mention, but perhaps as merely a link to the other page. There is a "See also" section. So... I'll be bold and remove the IP valuation section, since it is a problem and duplicative. And I'll move Controversy over to Criticisms. And with that, I think I will remove the disputation tags, because then the troublesome entries will be all on the Criticisms page; I can tag that disputed, since pretty much all of that content is. Everything on this page will be pretty uncontroversial, I believe. I still don't think this will be a great page after that, but at least that makes it easier to work with. --Stargat (talk) 14:09, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Intellectual property in general isn't a controversial subject. The fact that the body of law exists is uncontroversial (although the exact definition may be disputed). Stylistically, the quote from Eben Moglen appears out of place. A link to his wiki page and a reference to his manifesto could remain, but are better discussed elsewhere. Finally, perhaps a mention that intellectual property rights are exclusively granted by each country and may vary greatly among them. This comes from my perspective that IP isn't a very controversial or exciting topic, and merely acts as a commonly used umbrella term for the various subgroups within the field.Biccat (talk) 16:17, 28 March 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I agree on that point, too. I've removed it from here and made a slight edit on the next sentence after for clarity. I'm not sure yet whether it should be removed from the "Criticisms" article as well. Open to suggestions, but as more information about criticisms obviously belongs on that page, I'll leave it. And perhaps that discussion should happen on that Talk page in any case. --Stargat (talk) 21:12, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

Adding new section[edit]

It seemed to me a section belongs explaining why IP laws as a whole exist, what it contributes to the economy. I did some research, but it's still not a great section. I'm not done with it, but suggestions or contributions are appreciated. --Stargat (talk) 15:54, 9 April 2008 (UTC)

I support the section and I think it's pretty good. I've added a bit to it, and I'll be around to help in the future. -FrankTobia (talk) 20:00, 9 April 2008 (UTC)
I encourage you to read the Against intellectual monopoly book, to discover how "IP" is not really that good for the economy or humanity. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Rudd-O (talkcontribs) 05:17, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Gnuosphere's edit[edit]

It appears that Gnuosphere is determined too add a couple sentences at the top of this page to dispute the term Intellectual property that he once tried adding, long before I became involved with the page. Here is the paragraph:

The adjective "intellectual" reflects the fact that this term concerns a process of the mind. The noun "property" implies that ideation is analogous to constructing tangible objects or marking an area around land. Consequently, this term is controversial.

The first sentence is so unobjectionable as to add nothing. The second sentence oversimplifies a matter of reasonable debate among IP scholars. The third simply does not follow. I agree with Cool Hand Luke's point here[5] that the term is not so controversial it needs to be questioned in the first paragraph.

I fully support there being a Criticism section, and perhaps some part of Gnuosphere's edit can return, but it also needs to be more clearly explained and supported with a citation. For the time being I am removing his edit for a second time and leaving a brief note on his User Talk page. --Stargat (talk) 13:03, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Sounds reasonable to me. I was debating what to do with that edit, since it didn't seem to fit. Thanks for taking care of it and for explaining yourself thoroughly. -FrankTobia (talk) 13:47, 16 April 2008 (UTC)

Removed edits[edit]

My edits were removed (user name Why? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Felipe1982 (talkcontribs) 18:31, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

Your edits weren't completely removed, I attempted to clean up some things I noticed.[6] I attempted to explain myself in the edit summary. Let me know if you have more specific issues with what I did, I'm sure we can come to an agreement. Also please sign your name with four tildes when leaving messages on a talk page. Thanks. -FrankTobia (talk) 20:14, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

External links[edit]

For some time this article has had 2 sets of external links, "Further reading" and "Bibliography." Two seems too many and WP:EL doesn't give any advice on the subject. So I decided to condense the two into one. "Bibliography" sounds like works used to create the page, which is what "References" already is, so I went with "Further reading". Secondly, I noticed that a large number, perhaps even majority, of the links were negative to the concept of IP. According to WP:EL, undue weight should not be given to minority viewpoints. Critics of IP are fairly represented in the article, but it would be unfair to let them dominate this section. So, I have looked around for a few extra neutral-to-positive links to include, and culled a few of the less credible-looking negative ones. So critics are still represented, but are fairly represented as a minority. And lastly, I changed the formatting on all the external links to match. It's probably not the best overall way to do these links, but should probably do for now. --Stargat (talk) 21:04, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

Characteristic of intellectual property[edit]

In the common law systems does intellectual property belong to Personal property? Or is it completely independent and doesn't belong to any types of property? In the civil law systems it is said that it doesn't belong to movable property nor immovable property.--Prospect1 (talk) 05:34, 7 June 2008 (UTC)

Intellectual property is not private or personal property at all, anywhere in the world. The concept of property that you refer to only applies to rivalrous goods. Rudd-O (talk) 05:16, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

Does IP really apply only to exclusive rights? What about if someone agrees to allow a third party to release a copyright work on a non exclusive basis for example? I guess the original copyright is exclusive but the whole idea of copyright as a property implies exchanging those rights and so can surely not only apply to the original author but rights that have been sold too??? What do people here think? --Kystal (talk) 06:03, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Some kinds of intellectual property, copyright for instance, are intangible personal property in the U.S., and I suspect other common law systems. How does this have bearing on the article exactly? LH (talk) 06:17, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

Issues with a statement[edit]

"The Talmud contains the first known example of codifying a prohibition against the stealing of ideas, which is further discussed in the Shulchan Aruch."

"Stealing" is a PoV word in this context. Also, does it mean copying, or does it mean claiming the idea as one's own? --Raijinili (talk) 04:02, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
Well, the source says, "A conversation with him also demonstrates his erudition on the evolution of intellectual property laws. The first codification of intellectual property can be traced to the Jewish laws in the Talmud, which declared a prohibition against "Gnevat daat" - literally the theft of ideas." Cool Hand Luke 04:18, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Human right?[edit]

Why do I see atop the talk page that this article is part of human rights wiki project? Why are we suddenly attempting to revise history to repurpose copyright et al. as human rights, when they clearly aren't, and the worldwide TRIPS agreement clearly establishes copyrights et al. to be INSTRUMENTAL rather than natural, that modern copyright law is not a human right, and that there are very good reasons not to label it one? This is blatant revisionism and should be nuked from wikipedia purely based on the fact that this connotation is a lie. Not to mention the disastrous effects that humanrightizing c&p will have on societal progress! Rudd-O (talk) 05:22, 20 September 2008 (UTC)

I have no idea why someone tagged it under human rights and have removed it. Cool Hand Luke 06:41, 22 September 2008 (UTC)


I know you're not going to like what I did here, but your text pushed POV and was largely based on a misunderstanding of IP. You wrote extensively about how IP cannot be sold or destroyed, but you're confusing the first sale doctrine with the sale of IP. The "property" in IP is the exclusive rights, which can be sold, but IP is not sold when the owner sells copies. The owner can also destroy their right. It's actually now tricky to add copyright material into the public domain, but patent owners do it all the time when they fail to pay their renew fees.

I think the article should do a better job of explaining just what, exactly, is considered the "property" of IP because it's a very common mistake. Cool Hand Luke 07:18, 22 September 2008 (UTC)

Reorganizing lead[edit]

I spent some time trying to make the lead clearer, though my additions about the history of intellectual property were promptly removed. The relatively recent strengthening of intellectual property rights is an important part of the topic. I think it belongs in the lead and can be presented NPOV. Thoughts, L33tH4x? Demian12358 (talk) 06:16, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

My RV was too much of a reflex and I regret RVing your changes so quickly and completely. That's my mistake. I'm reimplementing the majority of them. Let me know if you think the rv is appropriate and then everyone can work any differences. My only real objection was that I think the duration/scope commentary (while certainly true) shouldn't necesarially be apart of the lead. On reflection perhaps it should, although it should be a new paragraph in any event. LH (talk) 06:29, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for reconsidering, h4x. I knew the additional material could be questionable, and I tried to find a way to phrase it as neutrally as I could. I think what we have now is an improvement, and better summarizes the article.Demian12358 (talk) 00:57, 16 January 2009 (UTC)

Reorganized lead[edit]

Thanks for the good work in reorganizing the lead section. This sentence:

"In the modern era, the role of intellectual property rights has steadily expanded to encompass a broader range of ideas, and to last for longer durations of time"

may be correct for copyright (recently) and certain types of patents (see e.g. supplementary protection certificate, but the words "steadily expanded .. to last for longer durations of time" do not even apply to supplementary protection certificates IMHO), but certainly not for all patents - see Statute of Monopolies:

"The first of them was granted by Henry VI in 1449 to a Flemish man a 20 year monopoly (coincidentally, the current length of UK/EU patents is still 20 years)".

The sentence should IMHO either be reworded or removed. Also this part "has steadily expanded to encompass a broader range of ideas" is vague. Does the term "ideas" refer to the new fields of protection? To new technologies? To new ways of using intellectual property rights? The role has expanded to encompass a broader range of ideas... What does it mean? Attribution would be nice in any case. --Edcolins (talk) 20:27, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

The "steadily expanded" phrase is intentionally general, since this isn't an article about specific types of intellectual property, and I certainly don't know the specifics of intellectual property law. What I would like to achieve with the lead is a better, clearer, summary of the major points in the article. I also tried not to say anything that isn't already mentioned in the body of the article (to avoid finding citations).
The word ideas in this instance is refering to any type of works, ideas, discoveries, etc., as in the phrase "ownership of ideas". One problem I noticed in writing about this subject is that there's no single word that means "works, ideas, discoveries, etc".
I will spend some time trying to address your concerns tomorrow.
On another note, I very much don't like this sentence:
"Under intellectual property law, the holder of one of these abstract properties has certain exclusive rights related to the creative work, commercial symbol, or invention by which it is covered."
It's too convoluted and I don't think it means what it's supposed to. I think it says (incorrectly) "the holder has rights related to the work that covers those rights". Also, there seems to be a discrepancy between singular and plural nouns. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Demian12358 (talkcontribs) 01:17, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
The second sentence you quote means "the holder of [the intellectual property] has [] exclusive rights related to the [work], commercial symbol, or invention..." The wording is strange probably because the word "work" is a copyright term, while for trademarks and patents different nouns are used. The subject of a copyright is a "work" while the subject of the others is something different ("invention" and "mark", I think, but I could be wrong). I'm unsure the terminology for trade secrets. That would answer your question about that sentence.
Aside from the oxford comma, I think the current changes are fine, although I think they're not 100% yet. The real issue should be discussed here: is this article about a legal term, or some broader understanding of IP. I would tend towards the former.
I think first it's problematic to define IP as artistic or commercial, or both. These work fine for copyright, but less so for patent, and bizarrely so for trademark. And that's assuming US law. I can't even pretend to comment on other countries. In fact, recently, there was a small debate on this issue as to whether or not IP law was a moral or economic right. For more on that debate, and how it was resolved, take a look at moral rights and the pages disambiguated off of that.
I just want to point out that the changes exist in a wider frame, and to bring it to mind. I don't think any of the recent changes are very far off base, nor that anyone here seems to have an axe to grind. I think it's good development. LH (talk) 08:17, 17 January 2009 (UTC)


There is a contradiction between "it was not until the 19th century that the term intellectual property began to be used as a unifying concept." and the history section... --Edcolins (talk) 10:14, 25 January 2009 (UTC)

Do you think they meant 20th century? --0imagination (talk) 02:31, 24 February 2009 (UTC)
Possibly yes. I have removed the contradiction, to be improved... --Edcolins (talk) 17:47, 24 February 2009 (UTC)

IP vs. IPR[edit]

A good source for the explanation of the differentiation between IP and IPR is Timmann "Das Patentrecht im Lichte von Art. 14 GG" 2008 ISBN 3161498569, page 150. IP ist "Schutzgegenstand" e.g. a book, software, an invention, ... . IPR on the other hand are the rights ("Rechtsfolge", "Schutzinhalt") associated to the specific IP. I think this differentiation is so fundamental that the revert should be reverted. Swen 07:35, 2 March 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Swen (talkcontribs)

I don't think the source supports your assertion. "Intellectual property" are legal, government-sponsored rights, nothing else. The object of intellectual property, i.e. the object of the right, is the Schutzgegenstand, while the Schutzinhalt is the content of the right, the kind of legal rights (intellectual property rights) which exists over the "object" at stake. --Edcolins (talk) 20:18, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Sorry for the language barrier, but now I think I have the correct terms: "intellectual property subject matter" vs. "intellectual property rights" as found in Abbott page 457 in ISBN 1843766744 with reference to Art. 1.2 TRIPS: "For the purposes of this Agreement, the term “intellectual property” refers to all categories of intellectual property that are the subject of Sections 1 through 7 of Part II." or "The intellectual property laws provide incentives for innovation by establishing enforcable property rights in intellectual property subject matter. Thus, intellectual property law bestows upon owners certain exclusionary rights and privileges as against others. These exclusionary rights allow intellectual property owners to profit from the use of their property, for example, through assignment or licensing." Xuan-Thao et al. page 871 in ISBN 157018528X. Maybe the revert of the revert should use these terms. Swen 22:15, 2 March 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Swen (talkcontribs)

"Financial incentive" conflicts its Boldrin & Levine reference[edit]

To my understanding, Boldrin&Levine positively oppose the idea that Intellectual Property (or, rather, Intellectual Monopoly as they put it) strengthens the incentive to innovate or to create. They clearly conclude that any financial variations in developing countries strengthening their IP laws are due to the fact that IM draws foreign capital, and that IP causes more patents and more copyright but not more innovation or more creativity; and as such, IP is an unnecessary evil. These ideas in the reference are in conflict with the information in the section. Ratbertovich (talk) 23:12, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

There certainly doesn't seem to be support at the cited page number (312) in the online copy linked to: [7]. That page is in the middle of the bibliography. The assertion being cited is the conventional wisdom, however, and there shouldn't be any issue in finding a reference to that effect, though. I wonder if historically, the Boldrin & Levine text was cited as a counter argument, which was then deleted, leaving the misreference, but don't have the ambition to track down the changes. TJRC (talk) 22:43, 16 March 2009 (UTC)
Additional comment. I made an edit to the effect of undoing the edit I hypothesized above: [8]. In the process, I deleted the pinpoint cite to page 312; it looks like that was someone intending to include the bibliographic information that the book was 312 pages long (at least in some edition). Feel free to improve on this. TJRC (talk) 23:30, 16 March 2009 (UTC)

"Defense" stinks on ice[edit]

It's full of weasel words and no references, just quotes from politicians. The China comment is pure bull excrement: even a trademark is not respected in that country, let alone patent and copyright. Ratbertovich (talk) 14:28, 10 April 2009 (UTC)

Agreed. It's been a few weeks at least since the templates were added, and there's been no improvement. I'm going to delete the section, since it's unworthy of Wikipedia at the moment. A bunch of opinions presented unattributed, with the only citations being for two quotes, which are not particularly relevant either to the section or to the article. If someone wants to put something like it back in, please present opinions clearly attributed as the opinions of specific people, rather than as unequivocal fact. Misterbailey (talk) 17:39, 17 April 2009 (UTC)

Category name[edit]

Please see Wikipedia:Categories_for_discussion/Log/2009_April_20#Category:Movement_against_intellectual_property. --Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus| talk 18:52, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

Trade Secrets are not property[edit]

just look at Trade_Secret#Legal_development_to_protecting_trade_secrets (a title of which is POV). It clearly says that Trade Secret as property have even been specifically ruled out: "In Commonwealth common law jurisdictions, confidentiality and trade secrets are regarded as an equitable right rather than a property right" from the court case Saltman Engineering Co Ltd v. Campbell Engineering Ltd. Court cases are above any scholarly work. Anything that requires a multi-pronged test to figure out if it exists at all, and whose existence is merely alleged, could hardly be described as "property" in any sensible definition of the word. (talk) 22:40, 26 July 2009 (UTC)

Nevertheless, from a financial point of view a corporate will regard trade secrets as part of the intangibles it can put on its balance sheet, so in effect part of its intellectual property, even if it is not protected by a specifically intellectual property right.
That's why it makes sense for eg a textbook like Cornish to include a chapter on trade secret law, and for us to reference trade secrets in this overview article, even if strictly speaking the legal framework is not quite the same.
As for multi-pronged tests, and rights whose existence is merely alleged, welcome to the happy world of IP. There are cases where you could say exactly the same about copyrights, unregistered design rights, database rights, etc, etc. Jheald (talk) 23:21, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
See also TRIPS Article 39, found specifically in an intellectual property treaty. Jheald (talk) 23:27, 26 July 2009 (UTC)
The best way forward may be to leave trade secrets in the list in the lead, but to add a footnote to the effect that

"Strictly speaking confidential information is governed by the law of equity, rather than property, because the law turns on questions of conscientious behaviour rather than absolute rights. Nevertheless, trade secrets are often considered alongside core IPRs, both at an economic level as part of the intangible assets of a company; and also at a policy level - viz the inclusion of a chapter on them in the TRIPS treaty on intellectual property rights"

Thoughts? (And is this distinction as relevant in systems of law other than English law?) Jheald (talk) 07:58, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

The Overview section[edit]

...stinks of weasel words and bad definitions. It is just more of the lead, and is not constructive. WP:LEAD is suppose to be the "overview".Scientus (talk) 22:06, 18 August 2009 (UTC)

Moved discussion from article[edit]

This belongs to the talk page: --Edcolins (talk) 17:26, 16 December 2009 (UTC)

The author of the so called definition below does not care for or take into account the need for compensation, use of and ownership of creative ideas, products, science research, invention and other aspects that start at the individual working man level and includes throusands of unpaid hours of practice, trial and error and experimentation. This report needs to be rewritten with the true defintion. Intelectual Property Rights may be used by large corporations but that is not what they are or why they exists. This posting is an example of why Wikipedia can be a very poor source for honest or well juried and tested information.
Warning this is a bias and not balanced interpritation of a much broader concept. It ignores the rights of artists, writers, thinkers and science to the fruits and further development of their work. I highly suggest a more balanced representation be presented. It is one of the reasons Wikipedia must be taken with a large grain of salt. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Main Usage Nowadays[edit]

When you go to the disambiguation page for IP, the short description of intellectual property states that nowadays this term is used for new series in video games. And honestly that's what I was looking for, not all this legal jargon (not in a bad way, but literally jargon). Perhaps someone can make a reference or even a separate page distinguishing the purely legal aspects of IP's to one focusing on the modern usage of the term outside of legal circles. (talk) 09:48, 20 December 2009 (UTC)