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Intellectual Property Rights

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY TYPE ANALYSIS

Introduction

Before we begin with the analysis of the different types of IP we need to clarify that types of IP scenarios assume that the owner of the absolute IP rights intends to obtain some sort of economic benefit from them. In other words, said IP will leave the owner's brain. This is necessary because if the IP never leaves the owner's brain, the chance the owner losing his/her absolute rights is exactly zero and hence all these elucidations are meaningless.

Type #1 - Wishing to retain ownership

This is the case where the owner of the IP wishes to obtain economic benefits while retaining his/her absolute IP rights. The method or technology by which this person may attempt to do so is irrelevant. What is relevant is the intention.

Type #2 - Wishing to give away ownership

This is the case where the owner of the IP wishes to obtain economic benefits losing his/her absolute IP rights in the process. The method or technology by which this person may attempt to do so is irrelevant. What is relevant is the intention.

Type #3 - Wishing to sell ownership

This is the case where the owner of the IP wishes to obtain economic benefits by selling his/her absolute IP rights in the process. The method or technology by which this person may attempt to do so is irrelevant. What is relevant is the intention.

PHYSICAL PROPERTY TYPE ANALYSIS

Introduction

If the ownership of the transmission medium is so critical, it is then critical for us to study how this ownership can be lost. We have broken down the scenarios into several types.

Type #1: Homesteading

This is the case where the possibility exists to homestead the transmission medium.

Let's say that the transmission medium is light generated by the Sun. Ulrich opens the book under sunlight and reads it.

The photons hitting the book are un-owned. However, once these photons have interacted with the book and hit Ulrich's eyes it can be said that they have become Ulrich's property through the homesteading principle: Ownership of un–owned property can only be achieved by continuously using or working the entire property (i.e. in a manner that provides economic benefit).

In this case un-owned property (sunlight) is being claimed as owned by Ulrich by continually using it in its entirety to read the book. In other words, all photons that originated in the Sun, hit the book and ended in Ulrich's eyes are Ulrich's property. Of this there are no doubts.

However, what happened to all the other photons that hit the book but not Ulrich's eyes? Well, they simply do not belong to Ulrich. How so? Because these photons, although containing IP information, are not being used by Ulrich because they are not ending in his eyes. But if these photons are not Ulrich's property, whose property are they? Anybody that is close enough to see or capture them.

In other words, if the transmission medium we use to make IP economically active has no original owner, any unused excess of said transmission medium can be owned by somebody else.

Type #2 Owned transmission medium

This is the case where there is no possibility to homestead the transmission medium.

Let's now say that Ulrich decides to read the book in a windowless room where the only light source is an electric lamp which Ulrich owns along with the necessary electricity to produce said light. It is unquestionable that Ulrich owns all the photons leaving said light. This is so because he created them. All of them.

But Ulrich did something else. He made sure that none of those photons escaped the room and he also made sure that no person (or somebody's recording device) was in the room to capture or use "excess" photons.  In these circumstances, Ulrich has not lost its ownership of the transmission medium.

In other words, if the transmission medium used to transfer IP is owned and controlled in its entirety, the ownership of this medium can never be lost.

Type #3 Gifted transmission medium

This is the case where the transmission medium is gifted to people.

Let's now say that Ulrich is a publisher.

However, as marketing ploy, Ulrich decides to place all the pages of the book's first chapter in display at his public store (which he owns). In there these pages are illuminated with artificial light (Ulrich's property) so that people may enter and read them. 

In this case we have a transmission medium which was originally owned in its entirety by Ulrich which has now been gifted to prospective customers. Photons that originated in Ulrich's lights (his property) and are now hitting potential customer's eyes without any terms or conditions. In other words, Ulrich has gifted this transmission medium (embedded with his IP) to people and he has done so freely (i.e. voluntarily).

In other words, when a transmission medium containing IP is gifted or contracted out without safeguards, the ownership of this medium has been lost.

Type #4 Failure

This is the case where there the possibility to homestead the transmission medium occurs due to a technical failure.

Cases 1 through 3 deal with the most common scenarios which are the most widespread ones by far. We now need to deal with the fourth (and final) scenario. A scenario where the IP owner has taken all the precautions as in the Case #2, but something has gone wrong and the transmission medium escapes its intended boundaries.

For example, let's say that Ulrich having just acquired the book from Joana, wishes to read it all by himself. Similarly to the Case #2, Ulrich decides to read the book in a windowless room where the only light source is an electric lamp which Ulrich owns along with the necessary electricity to produce said light. It is unquestionable that Ulrich owns all the photons leaving said light. This is so because he created them. All of them.

Unfortunately, unknown to him, the room is not light leak proof and a beam escapes to the exterior. Manuel from the other side of the street (outside of Ulrich's property) realizes this and using a telescope he is able to use the light leak to read the book at the same time that Ulrich does.

The question is this: has Ulrich lost his rights of ownership to the transmission medium?

The answer is yes.

This is so because all the photons carrying the IP used to belong to Ulrich; they were his property until he abandoned them. He did so by allowing the light leak, even if he wasn't aware of it. Lack of awareness does not ameliorate the consequences of the facts. Property rights are absolute but they are not eternal. If an owner abandons a property, this property reverts to the state of un-owned. At that point in time it becomes liable to the homesteaded; this is, owned by a different person.

This means that the photons that reached Manuel have now become his property because they are un-owned and Manuel is physically located on his own property.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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