It’s more constructive to identify ways to strike a balance between IPR and an open and interoperable Internet, which in any case promotes freedoms. Within an open Internet, innovation proliferates, creativity flourishes and freedoms are protected; an open Internet empowers societies and energises economies.
Technology has long challenged IPR: from the printing press to the VCR, to software and finally the Internet, technology has been the catalyst in re-affirming the philosophy and parameters of IPR. And the question has remained the same: does technology negatively impact intellectual property?
At first glance, it would appear so. But a closer look proves the opposite. IPRs have a consumer protection and public interest angle, two things that are very closely related to how the open standards community operates. Similarly, innovation and creativity – core principles of IPRs – constitute quintessential characteristics of the formation of Internet standards.
At a theoretical level, IPRs and the Internet are not as incompatible as one might think. We at the Internet Society suggest the following starting points for discussion:
- IPRs and Internet Architecture: The critical issue of intellectual property rights infringement needs to be addressed, but in ways that do not undermine the global Internet architecture or curtail internationally recognised rights.
- Innovation without permission: IPR policy should consider the Modern Paradigm for Standards Development, shaped by adherence to the following principles: cooperation; due process, consensus, transparency, balance and openness; collective empowerment; availability; and, voluntary adoption.