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Types of Intellectual Property

“Intellectual property” is an umbrella term that includes many types of legal rights. Lumping them together and calling them IP is fairly recent and done for propagandistic reasons.1

It’s traditionally understood to include “the big four”:

  • patent
  • copyright
  • trademark
  • trade secret

It also includes more modern legal IP rights,2 including:

Reputation rights (protected by defamation (libel and slander) law) are not usually considered IP3 but I think they should be; similar motivations and argument and flaws.

New rights are proposed all the time:

The latest I’ve heard is the proposal by Hank Barry (in a recent appearance on TWiL), former CEO for Napster and now an IP lawyer, who wants to reform copyright law by adding “a right of community in works of authorship.” As he writes: “So, should an author whose work has generated substantial amounts of money as the object or locus for a community have a right to benefit from those economics, even if the economics are one step removed from the sale of a copy of the work?”

  1. See Intellectual Properganda. []
  2. See The Mountain of IP Legislation. []
  3. See Jeffrey D. Dunn & Paul F. Seiler, “Trade Secrets and Non-Traditional Categories of Intellectual Property as Collateral,” UNCITRAL, Second International Colloquium on Secured Transactions: Security Interests in Intellectual Property Rights, Vienna, Austria (Jan. 18–19, 2007; https://perma.cc/W688-M4JT), p. 8: “Some jurisdictions, but not the United States, include moral rights as part of their copyright laws. The United States, with one exception, treats these kinds of rights as part of tort law (defamation and unfair competition).” []
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To the extent possible under law, Stephan Kinsella has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to C4SIF. This work is published from: United States. In the event the CC0 license is unenforceable a  Creative Commons License Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License is hereby granted.