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Margaret Ann Wilkinson

Patent, copyright and trademarks (the ‘classic intellectual property triad’) balance monopoly interests with the contributions such monopolies make to dissemination of knowledge. It may be argued that more recent additions to the intellectual property (IP) canon, such as moral rights, and protection of business confidences (the ‘modern IP devices’) do not encourage dissemination of knowledge but rather give stakeholders perpetual control over certain knowledge. This chapter argues that the key to balancing stakeholders’ interests within IP as new technologies emerge is recognising that the classic IP triad worked effectively in the beginning only because there was then no legal separation between individuals and their businesses. This chapter argues that the differentiation of individuals from corporations, and the eventual dominance of the corporate form in business, is the leading cause of current tensions in IP law. The emergence of new technologies is exposing these tensions even more clearly but is not itself their cause.