Intellectual Property

The digitization of information, and the Internet's ability to distribute such information at huge scale, challenges the trends in laws regarding intellectual property, which have been affected by the increasing corporate consolidation of Mass Media.

Should IP really be a Public Good? (Non-excludable, Non-rivalrous?)

What are the new Business Models For Information?

Is Private Property (Property Rights) itself created by Natural Law, or is its existence a Game Rule subject to societal interpretation?

And even if one agrees with the concept of Private Property, defined as allowing an individual to have exclusive control over an object, does it have to follow that property can be transferred from one individual to another?

Then, even if one agrees that a corporation is like a person, should an individual be allowed to transfer Private Property to a corporation?

Then, should an individual be allowed to transfer a piece of Intellectual Property to a corporation? Then, after such a transfer, does the nature of that Intellectual Property change? E.g. if law made Copy Right last for the life of the holder, that might make sense for the lifetime of an individual human (pending immortality!), but does it make sense for the lifetime of a corporation?

I choose for now to think of i-p as a Game Rule, and thus want to consider how good Society Design should support/define it:

An interesting side-problem is that intellectual property can be withheld from the public (e.g. a company doesn't see a return in keeping a record in distribution, so it goes Out Of Print), which doesn't seem to benefit anyone. Perhaps something like the HomeStead Act is appropriate, where an asset that lies fallow reverts to the Public Domain.

Some people like John Perry Barlow and maybe Esther Dyson believe that Information Wants To Be Free. This doesn't mean "IP protection is bad", it means "IP protection is a losing game as info becomes digital, so look for another source of cash flow".

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