What’s IP?

IP is Intellectual Property. It’s the name of the game in the arena of Content Creation. IP is imagination made real.

Intellectual Property is the unique expression of an idea or concept — in the case of literary work, characters, theme, story and their resultant execution — in a real, tangible form. That unique expression creates a bundle of exclusive rights around something that begins as an intangible, a mental asset, if you will.

Part of this has legal implications: copyright protects works of authorship that have been tangibly expressed — because it enables the ownership of a dream, an idea, an emotion that we can touch, see, hear, and feel. Part of this is qualitative: it’s not enough to have an idea and write it down on a piece of paper and put it in a drawer, it must be expressed in a form than establishes its worth. You have to put it out into the Mediaverse.

Ideas are a dime a dozen. Great ideas are one in a million. Either way, it’s the expression of that idea that makes it special and imputes value. Content Creators need to be able to point to their unique IP as something that exists, has value and establishes their authorship.

A published book is IP. An app is IP. A short film is IP. A movie is IP. A comic book is IP. A video game is IP. A blog with a readership is IP. Even a Twitter account with a following that has been consistently maintained can be IP. (ContentEngine.tv is a platform to establish IP.)

When we refer to IP, or to “underlying IP,” as something that studios, networks and other content producers are seeking, what we mean is that there are underlying rights that have value due to their name recognition, brand identity, fan-base or all of the above.

The appeal of underlying IP is that studios won’t have to do all the work of introducing a new title to the marketplace, there is pre-established awareness. Twilight, Spiderman, Mission Impossible, Angry Birds, Mass Effect and any short story by Phlip K. Dick are all examples of underlying IP that have tremendous value to content producers. Each of those underlying properties command massive name and title recognition, an engaged fan-base, pervasive pre-awareness and built-in audience. That’s why underlying IP can be so valuable.

The imperative for Content Creators is to plant their IP flag, as it were, to secure their ideas as their own. IP is a unique and tangible expression of your idea. That’s what creates value and, from a legal perspective, forms the bundle of rights that you can protect, license and sell to content producers willing to pay you to exploit them.

“Real artists ship.” Real Content Creators publish.

So get on it. Express those original ideas. Make ‘em tangible. Establish your IP.

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