Throughout the 1990s, the emerging policy debate on the potential of a digital networks society stressed the need to balance two possibly opposing features. The protection of immaterial rights, via the IPR / Patent regime, should not be so rigorous as to hinder the development of new business models suited to the digital world. As a more focused debate on e-inclusion, interactivity, consumer as creators etc. developed, the focus shifted to the need for a balance between content owners, content owners IPRs and the reasonable interests of consumers.
Technology, however, has made it possible for consumers to circumnavigate content owners´ interests with the result that cultural diversity has moved from main stream media to the Internet. Technology has turned content, which has been exclusive to many due to cost and the necessity to have certain hardware (CD players etc) into collective goods. User generated content (UGC) has become a means to bridge the gap between consumption and production. The Open Source movement has developed rapidly, with thousands of experienced Internet users collaborating in the development of new software applications, often in parallel with the growth of proprietary solutions protected by the IPR/ patent regime.
This paper looks at the significance of these developments for creativity and innovation in general and more specifically for the current wave of emerging open source / open content-based business models. We argue a) that new business models are often at odds with the legal regime, b) that consumer privacy is increasingly at odds with the legal regime, and c) that innovation may be a victim since improving existing ideas is the basis of creativity.
Amsterdam: IOS Press, 2007. 1557-1563 p.