At first glance, Own-It did not seem like an endeavour that I would like. The London and North England based organisation define themselves in this way:
“Own-it offers free intellectual property advice for creative businesses. Within your business or your practice, you’ve probably created a wealth of in-house ideas, designs, music, writing, images — in short, ‘intellectual property’ – which can make you extra money, as long as you give it the proper legal protection. Own-it will show you how.”
Firstly, there is the proprietary nature of its title. Secondly, the promise of ‘extra money’ generally switches me off in any context. However I was pleased to find that beyond the usual dogmatic advice to ring-fence all IP by default, Own-it have a good amount of information on Creative Commons, Copyleft and Open Source here, alongside informative articles on design IP mechanisms in general.
There’s no doubt that Own-it offer a valuable service and I like the well summarised definitions on their website, but there still seems to be little comparative relation made between the reasons for protecting one’s IP by closing it off and reasons for freeing one’s IP by opening it up. The two will have to meet at some point, at which time, citing the collaborative and evolutionary benefits of open sourcing, and the need to financially exploit one’s ideas, while not addressing the inherent contradictions therein, will simply no longer suffice. Surely the likes of Own-it are best placed to explore this frontier, although they might have to change their name to ‘Share-it’ first to convince me.
“a 7 day hub of events, debates, workshops, exhibitions, seminars and masterclasses bring together all sectors of the design industry to focus on sustainability issues, exchange ideas and carve out new roles for design.”
All taking place rather conveniently during this year’s London Design Festival, at the Design Council and on now.