The realities of intellectual property and crowdsourcing: don’t hold on too tight


When you talk about crowdsourcing, consistently one of the first objections you hear is worries about losing valuable ideas and intellectual property to unscrupulous overseas contractors.

Our new book Getting Results From Crowds is designed to help people get the most value from crowdsourcing. Part of doing that is giving perspective on the challenges and opportunities of using crowds. In Chapter 4 on When to use crowds, embedded below, one of several free chapters available from book, we discuss Intellectual property and confidentiality and provide a ‘reality check’ on IP protection – see pages 24-25.

Getting Results From Crowds: Chapter 4 – When To Use Crowds

While there are a number of things you can and often should do to protect your ideas and intellectual property when using external workers, there are a few things to keep in mind in using crowds:

* You are in the best position to develop your idea, or if you are not your pressing issue is finding the right partners rather than trying to execute yourself.

*„„ Crowd workers are intent on getting paid work in the present, and are very unlikely to want to develop ideas where the payoff is uncertain and distant.

*„„ Very few crowd workers have the capabilities to execute projects on their own behalf and are very unlikely to want to try.

*„„ While you may have somewhat better legal protection working with local providers compared to global workers, essentially the same risks exist.

In short, don’t let overblown fears stop you from gaining the value possible through tapping crowds.