Saturday, September 3, 2011

Media Lab IP Commission

The Media Lab is considering a potential revision of its IP policy.

In order to ensure an in-depth analysis of the Lab’s relationship to IP, its past and current strategies, as well as evaluate possible future policies, the Lab is putting together a commission of both internal faculty/MIT researchers and external IP experts. The commission will be facilitated by a field researcher, Kate Darling, and convene periodically during the course of a year to review gathered insights, refine questions, and set the direction for the analysis. The field researcher will investigate the Lab’s historical and current relationship to IP, spend time in the Lab developing an understanding for the various innovation contexts and their relation to IP, collect input from all involved parties, and connect the gathered insights to theoretical work on the role of IP in networked innovation settings. On the basis of this field work, the commission will discuss suitable policies for the Lab and draft a report with recommendations.

Questions include (but are not limited to): The role of IP rights in the Lab’s sponsoring strategies; the importance of IP rights to the Lab itself, including their value to faculty and students; the relationship between the Lab’s policies and MIT’s IP policies; the general role of IP in the various fields of innovation that the Lab engages in; whether any aspects of the current policies are causing unnecessary hindrances; whether the policies can be modified to encourage innovation (both internally and in a more general, social context) and also reflect the ideological interests of the lab; and whether there are any IP-related initiatives and projects that the Lab could support or be engaged in that use IP in a creative way to solve problems or enhance innovation and invention.

The commission will be chaired by Lawrence Lessig and we hope to have a very broad range of view represented on the commission. We are in the process of compiling the list of candidates for the commission. We're also soliciting participation from students, faculty and staff to participate in the process. (Contact Kate if you're interested.) We'll also be working closely with our sponsors/members and other stakeholders.

I'm very excited about this initiative and also excited to that Kate Darling has started her work at the Media Lab this month. Please join me in welcoming Kate and please provide Kate and myself with any thoughts as we begin the process.

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