Subject: Re: The term "intellectual property" considered useful
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Mon, 08 May 2006 13:13:59 +0900

>>>>> "Thomas" == Thomas Lord <> writes:

    Thomas> [1] "intellectual property rights"

    Thomas>     Unlike Stephen, I don't reject that phrase.  It is a
    Thomas> handy and neutral term for describing a collection of
    Thomas> legally constructed rights all of which have in common
    Thomas> that they pertain to the use, recording, modulation, and
    Thomas> transmission of signals.

    Thomas>     If there is a reason to reject that term at all, it is
    Thomas> only the trivial one that "property rights" is redundant,
    Thomas> other than when being distinguished from other rights
    Thomas> outside of the system of property.

My position is the latter.  While I give accuracy of communication
very strong precedence over effective propaganda, I certainly do
consider the propaganda effects of unnecessary words, and of word
choice when alternative accurate phrases are available.

My feeling is that in "intellectual property rights" the binding of
"intellectual" to "property" is significantly stronger than the
binding of "property" to "rights".  Where the generalization
"intellectual property" is useful, I've generally found the gloss
"rights" to be not particularly useful, as the specific rights do
differ greatly.  When I occasionally do need to refer explicitly to a
collection of rights, I've found the phrase "legal rights derived from
intellectual property" to express my intended meaning precisely, and
to dispel confusion about whether legal rights or natural rights are
in question.  A typical example is

    The legal rights derived from intellectual property will vary
    widely, depending on whether it is a copyright, a patent, or
    something else.

Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering   University of Tsukuba        Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
        Economics of Information Communication and Computation Systems
          Experimental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory