After a long meeting in Hartford a few weeks ago, I had an interesting conversation with very creative co-worker about intellectual property. It's an interesting concept for me on several levels.
As someone who writes* for pleasure, I've had my material stolen by a local message board, used by other bloggers and quoted a few times. I do mind the "stolen" part, as some anonymous Internet message board Troll taking something I've written here and claiming that they have in fact created it is simply dead wrong. But then again message boards are, at times, havens for the worst that the Internet has to offer. I don't so much mind my material being used by others and quoted, as long as I get credit. Disagree with something I've posted? Fine, just give me credit.
At work I grapple from time to time with the notion that ideas I generate and the things I create there are, in fact, the intellectual property of my employer. Now I'm not claiming to have created a cure for cancer at work, but I think I've come up with a good idea or two over the years, but never the less if I make it at work using company resources it basically belongs to the company. The only remedy I see is to keep good notes (mental or otherwise) on these good ideas, in the event I need to leverage them in the future for other endeavors.
The above noted, I suspect, is simply the cost of doing business in any kind of endeavor that involves creating "stuff". Being intellectually honest for a moment, I also freely admit to being inspired by what I see and hear from the creative endeavors of others. There is, in all of this, a kind of wonderfully creative loop that benefits everyone.
(*) I don't consider myself a "writer"...good or otherwise...but rather someone who writes. "Writer" implies a degree of skills that I neither claim nor aspire to.