16 November 2012

Creators spend all day, every day creating Intellectual Property (IP), so why don't they take responsibility for it?

As an innovator and proposition designer myself who has worked with 1000's of designers over the past 20 years, I am still curious to understand why the majority of Creators who spend every working day creating Intellectual property routinely avoid communicating their IP values and IP rights.

IP can be a complex subject and over the years it has resided in a deeply negative environment. The negative environment created by high profile and expensive litigation cases and woeful stories of independent designers ripped off by much larger organisations with deep pockets that deter smaller firms from being able to enforce their rights.

In the digital age, IP has come into sharp focus as Governments around the world play catch-up to review and amend IP laws. But changing the IP 'law' requires mutli-Country agreement and can take between 5 and 10 years to achieve. And even then, it may only result in sticking plasters over the existing mechanisms that many have already declared not fit for purpose.

However, in the digital age it is the Creators themselves who could make the biggest difference to communicating IP and the buying, selling, licensing and sharing of Intellectual Property.

And all they have to do to achieve that is to visibly identify their Rights Reserved or Free-Use in works displayed across the internet, at exhibitions in print. The average internet user does not understand ©copyright or copyright law, something even professional Creators struggle with.

And the majority of internet users believe that anything that is published on the internet or returned in search engines is not only free to access and view, but also free to download and use for their own purpose without permission or payment.

Creators are not helping matters as rarely do they place any information on images that communicates to the user that the item/image has Rights Reserved or is Free to Use. So images returned in Google Images for example gathered from Creators sites across the internet, are returned and presented to the search engine user without any communication of usage terms or ownership or contact details to ask permission to use.

To assist all parties, we developed and launched Creative Barcode. It is an IP Protection system which is the first innovation in the Intellectual Property sector for more than 3 decades, fit for a digital age. Specifically designed for Creators it is incredibly easy to use, very low cost, yet legally robust.

Detail can be found at www.creativebarcode.com but in brief it is a desk top App that enables Creators to produce digital safe-disclosure, rights reserved and free-use barcodes that are applied to their concepts before disclosing to third parties or to completed creative works displayed online and in other public places.

Viewers of work understand Rights Reserved from the Free-Use communication. And the Rights Reserved codes link to a Meta Data page confirming Creator/IP owner, IP Status and contact details to ask permission to use or license.

Importantly the codes travel with the works and therefore when returned in search engines; on Google Images; pinned on Pinterest etc, the codes are always present. It is also illegal to remove an identifier, such as Creative Barcode, and therefore any issues arising would automatically place the remover on the wrong side of the law.

However, Creative Barcode is not about conflict and confrontation, it is about communication, etiquette, ethics, fair trading and ease of understanding usage terms of a Creators property.

At government level there is talk of making it a legal requirement that Creators register their work formally in any number of private registries or ones that may be developed by government. However, even if that happens, it would still not resolve the issue unless 'identifiers' were present on publically displayed works that authenticated the work and attributed it to the Creator, and communicated whether it was free to use or had rights reserved and required permission and or payment.

So once again we come full circle to the Creators taking that responsibility as no-one other than Creators can do that. And therefore no-one other than Creators can play the biggest role in assisting internet users to understand what is and what is not free to use. And therefore, significantly reduce inadvertent (or deliberate) copyright breach, increase their own revenues and build their own profiles via attribution of works to them that travel with their Creative Barcode identifiers. 

As the digital world progresses, it also develops the opportunity for Creators to trade directly with consumers in a way that previously was mainly supported by intermediaries to whom their work had been licensed, in a shared income/royalty/licensing deals. Today Creators can take payment directly through their own web sites straight into their bank accounts and deliver the product direct to the consumer, whether it is a physical 3D product, an image, a piece of software, an artwork, book or any other creation.

So in summary, the Creative Industries have never had a greater opportunity to reduce copyright theft, inadvertent or deliberate, and to trade directly with internet users but only if they grab the opportunity and identify Rights Reserved or Free-Use and communicate to internet users.

So check out Creative Barcode and choose a free CB-LITE account to create free-use barcodes and test the App or from just £30 choose CB-PRO IP protection account and create Rights Reserved Barcodes and Safe-Disclosure barcodes for concept works. www.creativebarcode.com/join

The power to change the trading terms from free for all to ethical, fair trade, is in your hands 



Maxine Horn
Creative Barcode
United Kingdom

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