Distributed Intellectual Product Rights Common Rights, Collective Rights and Intellectual Property
Distributed Intellectual Product Rights
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© 1999-2005
Nicholas Bentley

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Issuing identifications for Intellectual Products:

The unique identifications for the author and consumer rights offices will be in the form of a Persistent Uniform Resource Identifier and the Handle System appears to be the ideal global structure for them.

A secure rights protocol, to be defined and implemented, will allow the administrative offices to exchange the author rights identification and consumer rights identification that will complete the transfer and logging of consumer’s registered-rights. Both offices would keep a transaction record including the date and time of the exchange that would provide an audit trail. The consumer will receive the unique manifestation of the intellectual product with a Property Rights Descriptor (PRD) field that contains both the author and consumer identifications.

As discussed above, the following consumers rights are granted when this uniquely identified product is issued and the identifications registered:

  • The consumer is allowed unlimited copying for their personal use.
  • They have the right to consume the intellectual component of the intellectual product. For example, when users receive a music file with a PRD registered to them they will be allowed to play that music as if they were playing a CD or record they had purchased.

There will be numerous author and consumer rights offices. Creators and distributors will be able to choose which author rights office will protect their intellectual products or even set up their own rights offices. Consumers, likewise, can choose a consumer rights office to record the transfer of product usage rights.

The duplication of the rights transfer and product information in the author and consumer rights offices will provide redundancy in the case of one of the offices' databases being lost. The lost database would become truly virtual but, in theory, could be recreated over time.

This description concerns only the basic rights transfer in the DIPR system and takes no account of the distribution of the product itself and the transfer of payments. It is feasible that one organisation could deal with many aspects of the transfer – say, promotion and sale of the product, distribution, Author Rights Office functions and the granting of additional rights through an Electronic Copyright Management System.

I also foresee that the establishment of a network of rights offices, that are obliged to be secure and provide secure communications, that would also provide a structure for a secure payment system. The offices could effectively become 'banks' for secure transfer of payments between consumers and providers. A system of ‘Internet banks’ such as this might allow the implementation of micropayment systems, with the low transaction costs that are required, and could even allow novel payment systems such as ‘Microrefunds' to operate successfully.

Structure of the Property Rights Descriptor (PRD)

The Property Rights Descriptor (PRD) is the unique identification that is attached to every product manifestation issued in the DIPR system. It consists of, at a minimum, two unique persistent identifiers; One issued by the Author Rights Office (ARO) and the other by the Consumer Rights Office (CRO). It would have the following form:

<PRD>::= <ARO ID> “,” <CRO ID>

where  <ARO ID>::= <primary ARO identifier> “/”  <ARO local identifier>

and      <CRO ID>::= <primary CRO identifier> “/”  <CRO local identifier>

If the two identifiers were to be part of the Handle System then the primary identifiers would be the naming authorities or prefixes and the local identifiers would be the item identifiers or suffixes.

The importance of two unique identifiers:

Each manifestation of the intellectual product could be uniquely identified with just one identifier. Why use two? The reason is that each party needs to have exclusive ownership of a product identifier. The two parties, creator and consumer, agree to ‘share’ some rights to a manifestation of the intellectual component of an intellectual product, they are not agreeing to share rights to their identifications of that product. It is the identifications that are the fixed tangible reference to an otherwise ‘intangible’ product manifestation.

A simple example can illustrate the above: A consumer wishes to change his or her consumer rights office, for whatever reason but say to an office which has a faster response time for registering products. All they need to do is change the ‘consumer rights office’ resource associated with their identification of the product. No change to the author rights office associations is required and the creator need not know of the change of consumer office. If there were only a single identification both parties would have to agree to the change and why should this be so when each party owns their rights to the product?

Most products today have only one unique identifier, say a combination of product number and serial number, which is almost certainly owned and controlled by the author or his or her agent. When this single unique identification is applied to a potentially intangible digital product the consumer is at the mercy of the owner of this identification. (See my theoretical analysis of the DIPR system for further arguments supporting the social and environmental needs for this dual office structure.)

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© 1999-2007 Nicholas Bentley Updated: May 2007