Intellectual property law

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Intellectual property law is generally concerned with protecting the interests of intellectual property (IP) owners by making specific statements about the legality of various ways of using IP.

More recently, laws such as the DMCA seek to reduce illegal usage by placing legal protections around copy protection devices, a controversial expansion of traditional legal coverage. (Previously, "tampering" with "protection" devices, e.g. door locks, may have been only illegal to the extent that it caused damage to the device or actually allowed someone to steal something; does anyone have references on this? --Woozle 21:44, 6 August 2006 (EDT))


United States

The status quo in the United States is largely represented by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), along with any remnants of Fair Use not rendered illegal by the DMCA.

2007-08-05: An attempt is underway to pass a bill, HR 3155, strengthening "criminal enforcement" of IP violations: H.R. 3155, The Intellectual Property Enhanced Criminal Enforcement Act of 2007

Related Articles

Interest Groups

Groups who are directly affected by IP legislation include:

pro reform

  • pro-access & pro-creator A2K uses this model (?) and looks to have a fair sharing of access and creator rights.
  • open source groups aiming for restriction of circumvention to copyright infringing activities, and to have protection for a range of business models.
  • academics who want to be able to research and comment without threat of litigation
  • components manufacturers who want to be able to develop for a range of systems and not be locked into specific partnerships.
  • makers, inventors, and recyclers who will be using hardware to make new things which were not anticipated by the original manufacturer.
  • webcasters who are concerned that traditional broadcasters are aiming to have themselves considered as a special kind of boradcaster and provided rights at the expense of creators and other business models.
  • democracy advocates concerned about software providers who want to blackbox their systems effectively avoiding transparency regarding the accuracy of their products.
  • pirate parties which are representing strictly a consumer perspective as they see that the system is so broken that non compliance and non recognition of the broken system is the only way to change it.

pro status quo

  • the music industry (including some of the more popular artists)
  • media conglomerates (e.g. Time/Warner/AOL, Fox -> Newscorp. -> Rupert Murdoch, Disney)





  • 2007-07-10 William A. Wulf is Determined to Reinspire a Culture of Innovation: "An innovation economy depends on intellectual property law, tax codes, patent procedures, export controls, immigration regulations and factors making up what he calls 'the ecology of innovation.' Unfortunately, he argues, in the United States too many of these components are unworkable, irrelevant, inadequate, outdated or 'fundamentally broken.'"


The IP laws being progressed through international treaties are primarily backed by large business groups who have pre-internet business models and wish to restrict the function of the internet to broadcast models, and to ban peer to peer kinds of projects. Wikis are not the only peer to peer creator/consumer model which has a lot to offer. Creative commons and music collaboration have a lot to gain from peer to peer sharing.

Open source is largely peer to peer. Patents on medicines are another system of laws which are using this kind of compulsory USFTA and similar treaty process to gain traction around the world despite being counter to the community and business interests of smaller nations. Lucychili 02:39, 16 July 2006 (UTC)