Image Courtesy: Michael WithamIt’s 9:30 pm when Elvis gets on the bus and sits down next to me. He pulls down his sun glasses, looks at me dead in the eyes, and says, “Honkey Tonk.”

Although I am still a Traker, I have relocated; my new office sits on the West end of the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the past month, I have walked past the flowers and memorials of Robin Williams and Joan Rivers, watched street performers do backflips over crowds of people, and have seen Mickey Mouse take pictures with tourists.

But behind the tourism of Hollywood Boulevard is intellectual property (IP). My brain begins to spiral down into the wonders of it...

Does the guy in the spiderman costume have to pay royalties?

Do wax museums pay a royalty to the celebrities they have waxed? Does Johnny Depp make more than Tony Hawk?

Can Capitol Records sue the street performer who’s playing a song they own?

(Please comment if you know the answers, I’m dying to know!)

In meeting people of the entertainment, film, and music industry, I have heard intellectual property terms and stories emerge...without prompting! With such a mature industry solely based on ideas and creative works, why should I be surprised? This is the world’s entertainment mecca, a multi-billion dollar industry, relying on creativity to thrive. And it is intellectual property that captures the value for the people who create it. The creatives take ownership and make money from their work.

If you have an idea and think it’s potentially valuable, you should look to protect it. Creativity is valuable. However, capturing all of its value requires intellectual property protection.


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