IPR and the Digital Revolution - Sponsored Whitepaper

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Copyright and intellectual property rights (IPR) have been established and extended over many hundreds of years. Although initially developed to give a publisher control over the right to publish (copy) a work, they were extended to give rights to authors, painters, photographers, film producers and software writers (amongst many others).

Naturally, copyright protection was introduced as civil law because it was dealing with economic rights of one party against another. Criminal law was not appropriate, and, therefore, the state would not act on behalf of the copyright owner who had to take action themselves.

At the time that these laws were formed it might be argued that the only people who could create rights were those who were educated, and therefore rich.

As education became commonplace for everyone (in many countries there is a legal obligation to ensure that children go to school) so the ability to create copyright works became something that (almost) anyone in the world could do.

At the same time there were debates about the wisdom of creating a system that would allow people absolute control over the copying and use of their works. Researchers and scientists could prevent anyone from checking or challenging their work. Political writers could ensure that what they wrote could only be seen by the faithful and never subject to proper criticism.
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