Intellectual Property Owners and Artists

Intellectual Property Owners and Artists
By: Daniel Warren Hill

On September 30th and October 1st of this year, Alchemical Records Magazine was given the privilege of attending the 2015 Fall Conference for the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) at George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, VA. While our own interests were geared specifically towards the entertainment industry and how intellectual property relates to creators from an artistic perspective, the event itself covered a variety of topics that included not only entertainment, but also manufacturing, marketing, technology, and government.

GMU_Matthew_Barblan

If we continue this series of articles without first thanking our liaison with CPIP, Kristina Pietro, Programs and Events Coordinator, we would do ourselves and the CPIP team a huge disservice. We were treated very graciously from the moment we sent our first email. Thanks Kristina!

GMU_BLMGThere are a handful of topics that seem to transcend all other current concerns regarding intellectual property and some of them you’re certain to be familiar with. The first being, piracy. Piracy is relevant to just about anything that can be digitally transmitted, which covers, well, anything really. It’s not just the illegal download of music from torrent sites, but also the illegal manufacturing and sale of patented products…because once company A sends the raw files to company B, it’s anyone’s guess who might end up with them next…Just ask cameraman and inventor, Garrett Brown, who is competing online with companies who are making an exact duplicate of products he invented, patented, and manufactured.

Litigation is the next monster constantly rearing its ugly head. The amount of court cases involving intellectual property, rights of ownership, rights to use, etc., have increased seemingly as quickly as the piracy issue. And it’s not just the litigation that is in question, it’s also the lack of mediation, as well as the inefficiency of pre-requisites for filing litigation in the first place. These are the cases you hear about where a company files a variety of lawsuits in the hopes that one will stick, and how in some cases the other company will settle simply because it’s cheaper to settle than to drag a case out in litigation, even if they would prove to be in the right. The duration of court proceedings is also a point of conversation.

GMU_Ford_Bill_Coughlin1The third concern is the seeming disconnect between creators, intellectual property law, and monetization. Being able to show the relationship between intellectual property law and how those lows actively benefit and protect the affected industries is essential. Justin Hughes, Loyola Law School, pointed out that there are some countries where their respective film industries simply budget and release their films on the idea that within two to three weeks someone will be illegally reproducing copies of the film. In case you’re just joining this conversation, keep in mind that there are actually people out there who think that we should do away with intellectual property law on the grounds that it is not only ineffective, but that it also stifles the creative community.

Which is probably why Matthew Barblan, CPIP Executive Director, opened up the conference in the way he did: Describing intellectual property as the harmony between economic and artistic freedom. What Matthew was saying is that, for the musician, copyright is designed to support a professional class of musician. In effect, intellectual property should be designed with the intent of supporting a professional class of creator.
Which is true today, in theory. But there have been so many rapid changes to the industries that intellectual property law was originally intended to support. The conference made clear that IP law is a continuing conversation, just like the industries it protects, and the CPIP 2015 Fall conference was a means of continuing that conversation. Over the course of the next few articles, we’d like to have that conversation with you.
What do you think so far?

For more about CPIP and the work they do to affect positive changes for creators and inventors, please visit:
http://cpip.gmu.edu

dhillbiopicDaniel Warren Hill is the publisher for Alchemical Records Magazine, owner of Alchemical Records, and songwriter/guitarist/vocalist for Alternative-Rock band Yellowtieguy.