The Future of Intellectual Property in
the Information Age
Intellectual property has deep roots in our law and, in fact, the United States Constitution expressly confers upon the Congress authority to adopt laws that will protect intellectual property rights for a reasonable period of time in order to encourage science and the useful arts. From the earliest days of this nation creative works have enjoyed the protection of federal law in recognition of the need to assure appropriate compensation to inventors, writers, and artists when the product of their creativity is commercialized.
In our country, there has always been a broad agreement that the law should recognize the rights of creators of intellectual property as an incentive to further the creation of original work. I share that belief. I am a strong defender of intellectual property and the rights of companies and individuals who have created works to receive fair compensation through the ability to limit the commercial use of that work in exchange for compensation for a limited period of time.
I also acknowledge the tremendous benefits that the products of American ingenuity, including inventions, literature, recorded music, and motion pictures, have conferred upon the American economy. These benefits are self-evident and they are broadly acknowledged.
I would also say that only through the compensation assurance that is provided by intellectual property laws can we expect these economic benefits to continue. Nowhere in the debate is there the slightest notion that intellectual property laws are not valuable. We have to begin the dialogue by acknowledging that they are.
American law has also historically contained a recognition of the rights of the users of intellectual property. When you whistle in the shower or when you sing a line from a romantic song to your