Intellectual Property and Government


For my white paper, I will be focusing on intellectual property rights. Intellectual property can be defined generally as “patents, copyrights, and trademarks, which provide legal rights to protect ideas, the expression of ideas, and the inventors and creators of such ideas” (Brown 213). The fundamental debate surrounding this issue is the notion that legal protections of intangible ideas conflicts with the right to free expression and exchange provided in the First Amendment.

This topic is a complete left turn from my second paper, in which I used Corrections Corporations of America as a case to analyze the ethics of privatized prisons. However, it is also one I am little knowledgeable about and am very interested in exploring.

My government resource is entitled “Intellectual Property and the National Information Infrastructure,” written in 1993 by the Working Group division of the Information Infrastructure Task Force (IITF). The IITF was pioneer by former president Bill Clinton in 1993, and worked with private firms, public interest groups, Congress, and State and local governments in order to establish and regulate information policies that would promote technology sector growth while protecting organizational privacy.

This comprehensive report gives a history of intellectual property rights as they relate to information systems expansion in the US. It also gives background on of the role of the IITF throughout these developments. I will be able to use the specifications about copyright, patent, and trademark law to better explain intellectual property. Additionally, I can evaluate the principles of such legislation and contrast them with business and societal perspectives as well as with other government statutes like the First Amendment in the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

Although the document outlines the detailed conditions under which federal law protects intellectual property, it was written in 1995, when the world was far less technologically and socially advanced. I would like to discover if there were any additions or changes instituted to the committee’s legal provisions since their publication nearly 20 years ago. I found this report by searching Bucknell’s WorldCat catalog for “intellectual property rights,” and believe it is a direct and reliable source of government perspective.

Brown, William M. “Intellectual Property Law.” Molecular Biotechnology 23.3 (2003): 213-24. Springer. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

United States. Information Infrastructure Task Force. Intellectual Property and the National Information Infrastructure: The Report of the Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights.” By Bruce A. Lehman. Washington, D.C.: September 1995. University of Michigan. Web. 11 Dec. 2014.

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