Intellectual property protections have secured a path to success for many of the nation's most important innovations. But to keep this reputation intact, it is becoming apparent that patent and copyright systems will have to evolve in step with emerging digital business practices.
The publishing world - traditionally one of the strongest advocates for copyright protection - has been showing signs of dissatisfaction lately with the IP framework established as a result of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Digital Rights Management technologies essentially prevent electronically published works from being modified or shared without their publishers' consent. But according to BBC News, MacMillan subsidiary Tor is planning to abandon DRM in the coming months to align with its business goals.
One of the unexpected consequences of DRM is the fact that content cannot be reformatted for viewing on multiple devices. Thus, producers are essentially locked into distributing their works through a single platform - such as the Kindle or iPad - and putting them in an adverse business position.
Similar concerns have been aired in the software community as manufacturers suggest that the initially noble goals of patent protection have been corrupted by license holders aiming to limit competition and stifle true innovation. According to Wired, the exclusivity period typically afforded to patent holders may not make sense in an industry that evolves at such a rapid pace. As such, experts are wondering how the system may be amended in the coming months and years to better align with emerging realities.