Intellectual Property is a fascinating area and those working in it can get quite caught up in the glamour of copyright, trademarks and patents. However, just as intellectual property is constantly moving in on all areas of life, those areas are also moving in on IP. This was the topic addressed by an INTA panel this week. (The panel was poorly advertised and not particularly well executed, but the information was important.)
Those working in the intellectual property law field must now also be acutely aware of defamation, free speech and media law issues. During the panel, Rachel Matteo Boehm explained how these two formerly separate areas of law can sometimes conflict with each other. Intellectual property laws, especially copyright and trademarks, are viewed in the United States as tolerable encroachments of free speech. Media law focuses mostly on the protection of free speech.
While we tend to speak of these conflicting issues in terms of the First Amendment in the US, the issues are not particular to one country. For example, defamation and liable are particularly important when dealing with the UK.
This particular Ipper doesn’t know much more about the particulars of this intersection (and found the panel extremely hard to follow), but she does know this: if you are in a intellectual property field or planning to be in one, you should at least be able to recognize when media law issues arise. It’s better to get outside help for the problems you can’t address than to not realize they are there in the first place.