IP: What does it mean to you?

Hello friendly readers! This is your neighborhood Mad Scientist dashing in to say that we need your data.

We here at the Mad Genii are gearing up to do a series on intellectual property, what it means, how to deal with it, and etcetera. We’d like your input as to what you’d like to see us cover, and what you already know, so we don’t go over old ground again.

Thanks very much!

Whoops… lab coat, check, steel toed shoes, check, where’s my hard hat? Gotta run before something gets a little, ah, shall we say energetic in the lab?



  1. ‘Intellectual property’ is the phrase used to describe the class of ideas that are given legal protection to encourage future production. In many areas, in desperate need of a reality check on how long one can monopolize an idea, and to what extent, because right now it’s at the point where money wins, instead of the entire point of the law.

    1. Err… No… The existence of the Disney Millenium Copyright Act & all the laws and treaty’s passed to make certain it applies to everyone everywhere means that since it was passed “the entire point of the law” is exactly, and entirely that “money wins”.

      Even if that’s not what the people in charge are willing to admit to.

      (Hmm… are those old DeCSS code t-shirts still a criminal offence?)

      1. Except that act, and any treaties, aren’t the law in question.

        They’re supposedly in support of the law, but the point of the law is to give a limited monopoly to encourage future creation.

        My favorite counter argument is that because the stuff is not that important, it should be an unlimited monopoly…when that would, logically, mean that it’s unimportant so we shouldn’t bother with protecting it at all.

        1. One social commentator said that J. K Rowling should not be allowed to do anything more with harry Potter because it was too important to society and the culture at large. In other words, once a work becomes too popular, the author should lose copyright to “society.”

          That went over with a resounding thud.

          1. Admittedly, while as a legal matter it’s nonsense on stilts, I do feel about the post Book 7 Potter canon much the way I feel about the non-original trilogy Star Wars. Legally, it belongs to the creator and not “society,” but it doesn’t stop me from wanting to shake Rowling/Lucas and say, “Stop! Just stop! Leave your masterpiece as it is, and don’t do anything to make it worse.”

                1. Or at least starts that way?

                  I was half a book into my daughter’s Wings of Fire book when I suddenly realized it had probably started as a “How to Train your Dragon” fanfic, from the dragon’s POV, which snowballed.

  2. [The Congress shall have the power] To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
    — Article I, Section 8, Clause 8.

    In the current legal interpretation, “limited” seems to have been changed to “all”.

  3. So, one thing to be discussed would be the seven significant differences theory and how it works in real life..

    based on the discussion from the otehr day i guess we also need to discuss the history and current disposition on whether you can get DMCA’d if something ‘looks enough like’ someone’s copyrighted product.

    1. At what point does “random power armor/mecha” become Voltron™ or Gundam™? Yes, and that applies to other things as well.

      Plus: paintings and other works of art that should be in public domain, but that the owner holds photo-copyright to. Where do you find out who owns what? (Obviously, if you took a photo of the work and use that, it’s yours, if the work of art is out of copyright, but beyond that…)

      1. Also, forex, Sony owns the current sheet music arrangements of a great number of classical pieces…

    2. Possibly also copyrights to stuff like cocky and space marines?

      Re: mecha

      Super Robot Wars is a wonderful franchise. Some crazy awesome people got actual licensing to a series of fanfic games combining bunches and bunches of mecha properties. So, SRW W, for example, has Go-Lion, Gundam Wing, Full Metal Panic, Tekkaman Blade I and II, and a bunch more.

      1. Seems like, Japan’s anime guys have a LOT saner (ok, Fanboy) of an approach to their properties. Elf just found a game he had in high school that was basically Magic: the Gathering made entirely anime characters from wildly diverse animes, as best I can understand the description.

  4. I love Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia and I am 99% completely uninterested in reading another person’s take on those works. But I also think they should both be public domain by now.

  5. Being a non-lawyer . . . to me it means figuring out what limitations are on the license I’ve bought for art I want to use on a cover, and especially looking for a model release.

      1. Finding the right model, in the right pose – that is the headache for me. Why I don’t have people in my homemade covers…

        The Passive Voice had an interesting link the other day; a company that is developing an API into an “AI” that generates realist faces. I haven’t gone through the 100,000 faces they’ve made available for free, but if they eventually release it and it can rotate the face – I’ll really look into it. (Bodies are easy to find.)

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