1. Describe and critique the governance (legal and regulatory) frameworks that apply to information and communications infrastructures and services.
2. Distinguish the various rights that are collectively known as intellectual property and demonstrate their everyday importance in a range of information and communications contexts.
A. Demonstrate the global significance and importance of intellectual property rights to a computer software or media company that is newly established. The company is planning to expand by taking on more staff – on permanent contracts and freelance contractors; to establish a web presence as part of its communication strategy; and by working with another larger company to market and distribute its products in other countries.
Identify and summarise key areas of IP law and show how these may be relevant to the company. Appropriate aspects, for example, may include the employee/employer relationship, agreements with contractors or other third parties, maximising the commercial value and controlling exploitation of the company’s products, licensing, trade mark registration, and so forth.
B. Make a case to the senior management team of a public library authority, which has to identify budget cuts, of the value and importance of retaining its business advice service on intellectual property. The service supports the range of local and regional businesses including those involved in manufacturing, research and development, as well as creative industries such as web design and media production. Many service users are small companies or self-employed. These companies operate in home markets and overseas.
Show how intellectual property is a key asset for all businesses and how small and medium size companies in particular can benefit from the advice service. Appropriate aspects, for example, may include how to safeguard sensitive information about new inventions or process innovations, applying for patents, registering designs, announcing details of new products, associated documentation, and so forth.
C. Prepare a briefing report for a campaigning organisation or pressure group that is concerned about the extent to which the global intellectual property system addresses the needs and concerns of civil society and individuals.
Examine what constitutes a ‘system’ in terms of global IPR, e.g. international trade agreements, treaties, WIPO, industry bodies, regional agreements, national jurisdictions, enforcement and penalties. Consider who represents and gives voice to, the interests of civil society and individuals. Civil society is sometimes referred to as the ‘third sector’, distinct from government and business. It comprises a range of stakeholders, e.g. non-governmental organisations concerned with global development and access to IP in less developed nations; public interest challenges of a humanitarian nature such as access to medical treatments at affordable costs; charities that campaign for specific groups such as access to copyright works for persons with visual impairment and print disabilities; consumer organisations and so forth.