IP Law and Creative Commons

// Posted by on 02/18/2013 (10:24 PM)

I’m sure you’re all tired of hearing about my law school bu****hit, but here I go again…I can’t help but write about my experience from today at Cardozo Law’s accepted students day. At one point during the day-long program, a panel of professors spoke about their respective specialties. Professor Felix Wu is one of the mainstays at Cardozo’s Intellectual Property (IP) department. IP, according to Pisacreta and Adler, is a legal concept which refers to creations of the mind for which exclusive rights are  recognized. Here’s a quick video explanation of IP from Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. IP law, for good reasons, is the fastest growing field of law today largely due to THE INTERNET!

Professor Wu began his part of the talk by asking some questions that have come up in courts around the nation: “For example, is it illegal for you to video record your roommate? Is it illegal for someone else to videotape your roomate and you to disseminate it via the internet? How does one claim ownership to property that was not physically or tangibly theirs?” He then cited a case in which a certain shoe company attempted to patent the color red so that no other shoe company could put the color on the sole of their shoes. So, in the same vein, how can one go about trademarking a webpage or intangible idea published online? Is it possible? If so, is it even constitutional?

In class we discussed a new-age patent and trademarking service called creative commons (CC). According to their website, Creative Commons is a not-for-profit entity “devoted to expanding the range of creative works available for others to build upon legally and to share.” The company has created a new type of copyright-license called a creative commons license which  follows a “some rights reserved” principle rather than the typical “all rights reserved” copyright. CC is interesting and perhaps problematic in that it legally allows ideas created by individuals to be commercially used and marketed by people other than the creator of the idea. Personally (if I really believed in my idea), I would always opt to fully reserve the rights associated with it. CC could, in a way, erode the current copyright system by softening copyright regulations. Do you think that ideas can be only partially owned? Or should the system remain a hard-line black and white “copyrighted or not copyrighted” model? Do you think CC would even hold up in court, if contested? If your roommate videotaped you and licensed it under a CC license that legally blocked you from tampering with it…




Intellectual Property Licensing: Forms and Analysis, by Richard Raysman, Edward A. Pisacreta and Kenneth A. Adler. Law Journal Press, 1998-2008. ISBN 973-58852-086-9

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