How Will We Protect Intellectual Property In A Purely Digital Age?

Laws on how best to maintain and protect an individual or company’s intellectual property (IP) are becoming increasingly complicated because of the digital age which we’re quickly entering. Some would argue, though, that they’re not yet doing enough. So where is the needed framework for managing IP, and where might we find the best chance of getting the one we need up and running faster than everyone else? Believe it or not, in Russia.

There are already a few things most of us have managed to do in order to protect and manage IPs. Legal regulation is already used by a number of countries who agreed to the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks. Many people who have illegally downloaded or distributed an intellectual property–think music, TV shows, or movies–will inevitably receive a handy message from their internet provider telling them about the error of their ways, and the accompanying legal consequences they might be subject to if the authorities decide to come knocking on their doors. These messages are required by law, and have been for some time thanks to those international agreements.

Because digital crimes such as these are becoming almost routine and committed on such a grand scale, special courts are being put into motion in order to deal with them separately from other judicial matters in many countries. Basically, the laws against IP theft are becoming more ironclad, and that’s a good thing for the owners of those properties (arguably).

In addition to these new laws, blockchain is being used by creators who want to copyright their material. Blockchain is much more secure than other methods, and so it’s a step in the right direction. There are other factors to consider, but for now these are the most important.

So why is Russia where we should be looking to effect the change we need on a global scale?

Russia has always been known for strict laws, so it should come as no surprise that they take the concept of IP theft seriously–maybe even more seriously than anyone else. The Federal Service For Intellectual Property (Rospatent), Ministry of Education and Science, and the Ministry of Economic Development all play a role in overseeing the protection of various IPs and the protocols for doing so. Because of this, in 2013 an IP court was created to streamline the process while stiffening penalties for theft.

One of the problems with regulating IP is its very nature–intellectual property is just that: an idea that morphs into something more tangible over time. When an idea crosses international borders, it’s a lot more difficult to control legal guidelines overseeing what it becomes or who controls it. That’s why the goal is to eventually go further by taking a new framework into a global market where it can be used universally by everyone who has an intellectual property.

Right now, Russia and the government agencies that regulate its IPs are working to create international IP protection centers that can better monitor and deter theft in other countries where they currently have less control. At the same time, the government is working up a strategy for the transfer of technology, and the management and protection of intellectual property.

If they meet with even a moderate amount of success in their relatively noteworthy endeavors, other countries will be more willing to work with them on the framework they’ve created in the future, and IP might find the guidance it so desperately needs for the new age we’ve entered.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.