Crowdsourcing and building models for sharing value from intellectual property creation


I’m currently at Crowdsourcing Week where I gave the opening keynote and have been participating in and moderating a number of panel discussions.

One of the panels was written up in ZDNet as Crowdsourcing faces ethical, legal risks

The article is well worth a read, capturing part of what was a very rich discussion on the challenges and opportunities from crowdsourcing.

One of the questions from the audience was on addressing intellectual property issues in crowdsourcing. The article quoted me:

Dawson also pointed to questions over intellectual property rights and which party should have ownership of the resulting content or product built. At the moment, most companies that engage in crowdsourcing have a contract with participants which gives IP rights to the company, he explained, while in some contracts, certain users are able to retain IP rights.

I went on to say that we need to build new mechanisms to enable distributed value creation, which is a topic I covered at some length in Chapter 5 of Living Networks.

Existing intellectual property law makes it well-nigh impossible for intellectual property to have a large number of owners.

However the reality is that, especially as we shift to a world of crowdsourcing, distributed work and open innovation, often many people contribute to the creation of intellectual property.

This means there is an enormous opportunity to build mechanisms that can allocate the value created from idea generation and innovation to those who have created it.

There are no right or correct ways to do this, but we can over time gradually build better systems for sharing in value creation. Points systems that recognise value creation, and peer assessment of contribution are among the mechanisms that we can draw on.

I look forward to seeing real innovation in models for sharing value from intellectual property creation. It is an enormous opportunity, for individual organizations and for society.