When one first hears the word property the words that come to mind are possibly a house, a car, a boat but what about intellectual property? Well first off the definition of property is the legal right to exclude or keep others from interfering with what you own simply stated, ownership. However, intellectual property is still property but it originates from an individual’s mind or intellect. So say a person owns a house, they have the legal right to do whatever they please to their home as long as they abide by the law.
There exist similar rights that apply to intellectual property basically if you think it, you own it. Since tangible objects like a house can be protected by property rights without interference, what about intangible objects like thoughts or ideas how are they protected? Each thought or idea that a person coins is called an asset, the most common intangible assets are music and literary works. For example, a person can write a short story for a literature textbook and although the story physically appears in the textbook, the owner has intellectual rights to only the short story not the textbook.
The company that publishes the textbook, however, possesses the right to distribute or withhold the textbook because it is their tangible asset. Now having discussed intangible and tangible assets, I will further discuss how to protect such assets. If a story were a tangible asset such as the house mentioned earlier we could possibly build a fence around it but because one cannot physically protect the story what can be done? There are several ways to protect intellectual property due to laws created to grant rights to the owner.
These rights are called Intellectual Property rights, better known as IP rights. IP rights are granted by the Federal government and provide the owner with the authority to prevent all others from using the IP assets (Gorman). This means for all other individuals besides the owner permission much be granted for use of the intellectual property for commercial purposes. Although, these rights are granted to the owner this does not in all cases mean that the owner will have rights to this property for eternity but usually these rights are granted for a limited amount of time to the owner.
Trademarks and copyrights are two different types of rights that cover intangible property; each right prevents other individuals from bootlegging the owner’s creations. These rights are suitable for different types of intellectual property. For instance, the example earlier concerning the short story would need a copyright to protect his or her short story. Copyrights are granted to the authors of newly created works for the lifetime of the author plus fifty years (Macmillian). Copyright law grants property in certain creative expressions that keeps others from reproducing it without the owner’s permission (Reed et al 341).
In the court case Campbell v. Acuff-Rose Music, INC. , rap group 2 Live Crew recorded and sold a parody of Roy Orbison’s “Oh Pretty Woman” and called the song “Pretty Woman”. Acuff-Rose Music, INC. owned the copyright to the original song that was recorded by Roy Orbison; therefore, the company sued 2 Live Crew for their parody on the grounds of infringement. The Court of Appeals rendered the parody by 2 Live Crew to be unfair on the grounds of excessive copying from the original recording by Orbison.
The case reached the Supreme Court where it was noted that Campbell had used the ‘heart’ of the original work, but replicating the ‘heart’ was necessary for production of the parody. The Court failed to see how copying was excessive in the parody because of the fair use doctrine. Fair use is a doctrine that authorizes some use of copyrighted material to a degree without obtaining consent from the right owners. With fair use in play the judgment of the Court of Appeals was reversed and the case was remanded. Trademarks are another form of intellectual property which are intended to inform consumers on who makes the goods that we purchase.
Trademarks are often documented as words, pictures, or designs. Examples of common trademarks include Clorox, Band-Aid, and Coke; these trademark names are commonly familiar to consumers as brand name products, and prohibited for use by competitors. Trademarks such as these have to be registered with the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office; through this process names can be fully trademarked and protected. Celebrity couple Beyonce and Jay-Z filed an application with the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office to protect their daughters’ name Blue Ivy.
The couple wanted to trademark the name for future baby-related business endeavors which would include playpens, diaper bags, and baby bedding. Boston wedding planner Veronica Alexandra operated under the name Blue Ivy since 2009 but only for use in event planning (The Reliable Source). However, Alexandra trademarked her business name Blue Ivy just weeks before the couple filed their application. Beyonce and Jay-Z request to trademark their child’s name was denied because Alexandra was granted the right to use the name “Blue Ivy” to market and advertise her business. The U. S.
Patent and Trademark Office said that the couple can use the name for other potential business endeavors just not related to baby product business. Abraham Lincoln once said that intellectual property couples “the fuel of interest with the fire of genius” (Reed et al 319). Intellectual property starts as a thought in an individual’s mind or intellect. Those thoughts turn into ideas and ideas establish authors, musicians, inventors, and most importantly owners. Each owner has property in their asset whether tangible or intangible, and the right to protect their property as well.
Tangible assets like a house are protected by property rights, while intangible assets like a short story are protected by intellectual property rights. IP rights are rights exclusively given to individuals over the creations of their mind. These rights are available to every individual but are only guaranteed for a certain period of time. During that time the owner has the authority to keep all others from copying their creations. IP rights not only protect our creations, but set a fire ablaze to our thoughts and imaginations. If we think it, we own it.