The Many Faces of the Public Domain
Edited by Charlotte Waelde and Hector MacQueen
Chapter 7: Creativity, Innovation and Intellectual Property: A New Approach for the 21st Century
John Howkins 1 Introduction: Setting the scene One of the key issues facing us today is the relationship between people’s creativity, which is usually private, personal and local, and global governance, standards and laws on intellectual property. It is a contentious issue because it involves not only our free speech and free expression but how we choose to live in societies based increasingly on monetising ideas. The strength of both individual ambition and corporate power can lead to conflict and bad feeling. We need a new approach. I believe the way to resolve the tension lies through a better understanding of the process of creativity and innovation. I want to explore how, at each stage of the creative process, ideas move back and forth between the private and public domains. I also want to discuss the RSA Adelphi Charter on Creativity, Innovation and Intellectual Property which arose, in part, from these concerns. My other reference point is the creative economy. I prefer the word ‘economy’ to ‘industry’ because I want to include all parts of the process from production (supply) to consumption and use (demand). The word ‘industry’ puts too much emphasis on the supply-side and not enough on the demand side. I also want to include the public. One of the characteristics of the creative economy is that it is an economy based on the individual, both as creator and as user. This, by itself, marks a dramatic difference from conventional extractive and agricultural economies, which are based on...
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