World Intellectual Property Day is again upon us. While last year’s theme focused on IP for small businesses, the focus this year is on celebrating youth-led innovation and creativity. With the increased consumption of media and the ease of creating and publishing content on various social media platforms, the time couldn’t be better for such a celebration.
Today’s youth are increasingly creating IP-protected content. Some platforms count youth, even those as young as age 7, as their biggest earners: They have built followings through content creation, created brands and then further leveraged the value already created to extend their brands into merchandising and non-fungible tokens, for example. But whether they understand their rights – what rights they have and what rights they can and often do sign away – is a different story. This is reason enough to dedicate this year’s World IP Day to helping young people find out how IP rights can support their goals. That way, they understand the rules that allow them to leverage their content into profit.
This also provides an opportunity to offer a cautionary tale: educating individuals on the rights they may forgo when taking certain actions and helping them realize the full potential of their IP-protected content. If one doesn’t know of the IP rights they have, that person also likely does not know what it means to give up those rights. For example, if the content creator grants something like a worldwide, nonexclusive, nonrevocable license, for no monetary compensation, that disarms the individual of control over how their content can be used. They should understand what they’re giving up and how granting that license may affect later opportunities to monetize that content.
Educating individuals, and young people in particular, will at best give them the tools they need to negotiate with brands trying to use their content and at the very least allow them to make informed decisions on which legal rights to forgo relating to their content.