Note: This is the third of five blog posts devoted to Week 4/Module 4 of my business law course (Tiger King edition).
Last time, we explained why intellectual property rights are so important and deserve to be studied in depth in any business law survey course. Since my business law IP module focuses on copyrights and trademarks, let’s jump right in with copyright law. I always like to begin my analysis of copyright law by asking my students whether they have ever created any intellectual property, like a musical recording, a painting, a business logo, etc. Before we proceed, let me ask you a modified version of the same question, Have you created any intellectual property today?
It turns out that almost everyone in the world has created some form of IP in the last day or two alone! If you have ever written a love letter, drawn a doodle, or taken a selfie on your phone, then yes, you too have created intellectual property! And this observation is precisely why I like to begin to copyright law. Under the common law, any original work that can be expressed in a tangible means of expression (i.e. printed or drawn on a piece of paper) automatically belongs to the creator of the work. And that is why I like to begin with copyright law–to show my students that every single one of them has the brain power and creativity to create IP! Any questions?
We will proceed into trademark law in my next post …