World Intellectual Property Organization
Internet Jurisdiction and Intellectual Property
The second system for IP is the copyright system. The copyright system generally covers creative works such as a book or a piece of music. The breadth of coverage is limited with copyright to the creative work itself. For example, if an author writes a book about underwater basket weaving, he can expect that his book is covered by copyright. He cannot, however, take action if another author writes another book about the same topic.
Standard duration of copyrights is generally held to 50 years past the death of the creator.
The final mechanism for establishing intellectual property is trademark.
Trademark simply covers unique identification of a product or company.
The quintessential example of a trademark is Nike's "swoosh"
logo. For example it would be legal for another company to make a pair
of tennis shoes (unless Nike had a patent) but it would not be legal for
them to place a swoosh on the shoe.
Much of the stickiness surrounding IP stems from differing ideals on how IP should be applied. Developed nations, for the most part, expend more resource developing IP than developing nations do. For this reason, developed nations tend to be more rigorous in trying to enforce their IP claims.
On the other side of the coin, developing nations may not be able to afford new technologies or the investment in developing IP. These developing nations worry that there is a growing divide between rich and poor nations in respect to IP.
For example, a developing nation may feel that if a life-saving drug has been created, and they can produce it themselves, they should have the right to without having to pay large royalties to foreign pharmaceutical companies.
Movie, music and software are currently among the most commonly distributed
IP on the Internet, but debate should be more inclusive and address the
nature of IP and its travel across national boundaries via the Internet.