Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs)
The World Trade Organisation defines Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) as “the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.” As such upholding and respecting intellectual property must be a core function of the Internet ecosystem.
IPRs have an impact on all almost all sectors of business with copyright having a particular emphasis in the gaming, music, images, sports, and video industries. As the explosion in high-quality online content from these sectors has blossomed, fuelling billions in investment and even spawned whole new industries, IPRS and copyright become ever more relevant.
Intellectual property has become a focal point for some of the most important debates over the future of the Internet. If IPRs are not effectively enforced, much of what makes the Internet such a vibrant tool for creativity, information, communication and commerce is at stake. Indeed, entire industries are struggling to protect and monetise their IPRs in the face of new business models which undermine IPR mechanisms, dis-incentivising future investment and innovation, thus diminishing competition online.
Creators should feel free to share their content online without fear of non-attribution or piracy. Rogue websites and peer-to-peer networks remain a huge threat to IPR holders and it is encumbent on all players, to act firmly to ensure that illegal sites do not propsper at the expense of copyright and IPR. New payment models need to be created that take the needs of the creative and online communities into consideration.