Current Issue

Editorial Remarks

Chia-Han YANG
Guest Editor

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) have historically been identified as a monopoly assigned to designated owners by law to protect their creations. By exchanging limited exclusive rights for disclosure of inventions and creative works, society and the intellectual property owner mutually benefit, and an incentive is created for inventors to create and disclose their work. Although many of the legal principles governing intellectual property rights have evolved over centuries, it was not until the late 20th century that it became commonplace in the majority of the world, especially for technology advancement and industry development.


Today, with the emergence of technology-based industries, several major varieties of intellectual property, such as patents, copyrights, trademarks, design rights, and trade secrets, have been well explored in the literature from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. However, while cultural and creative industries have been a major trend since the turn of this century, limited research is available regarding the key aspects of intellectual property in the cultural and creative industries context. How important and effective the protection of intellectual property varies from industry to industry. In the cultural and creative industries, where the innovative idea is often intangible and costly, creators are keen to protect their innovations by exercising all forms of IPR. If this knowledge base for innovation is tacit or socially complex, creators in this new industry will find it very hard to protect their work, since innovations cannot be readily codified into documents and procedures, or may arise through complex interactions between society and specific individuals in specific social contexts. These characteristics of knowledge in the cultural and creative industries impact a wide range of intellectual property issues, including industry development, product commercialization, contract design, licensing mechanisms, profit models for intellectual property, government and legal regimes, and challenges of intellectual property policy in global markets. Therefore, this special issue of the International Journal of Cultural and Creative Industries explores both the theoretical and practical aspects of intellectual property in cultural and creative industries. The papers selected for this issue present IPR in range of contexts, including copyright debates, international compliance with intellectual property law, protection of design innovation, design patent map, and the regional intellectual property issues in different industries. The focus of this special issue is the application of conventional IPR concepts in the cultural and creative industries from the perspectives of policy, law, business, education, and theory.


The first group of studies in this issue explores the essence of copyrights in cultural and creative industries. Terry Flew discusses the debates about copyrights in which the creative industries are defined as copyright-based industries where revenues are generated from innovation and discusses the issue of copyright regimes have acted as a fetter on creativity. Kate MacNeill introduces two global cases to examine the diverse strategies deployed in an attempt to extend international compliance with intellectual property law in the creative industries.


The second group of studies examines product and design innovation in creative industries and discusses how to protect and manage them via current patent regimes. Yung-Ping Chou and Yoo-De San explore the gap between IPR knowledge and business strategy in cultural and creative industries, which impairs the capacity of intellectual property to enhance business competitiveness. My own article introduces how two design patent maps generated using different mathematical approaches can improve the product design development and strategic planning in the creative design industry.


In addition, two articles provide glocal perspectives on regional IPR topics in this special issue. Alex van Egmond explores the unique “Shanzhai” phenomenon in China and analyzes the challenges it creates for China's economy and creative industry development. Gretchen Stolte, Lynelle Flinders, Cheryl Creed, and Robert Tommy Pau’s essay provides insights from three emerging Indigenous artists from far north Queensland in Australia, and examines how the complex cultural protocols interact with intellectual property regimes in Australia’s contemporary arts industry.


I would like to thank all the reviewers who kindly contributed their time to review the submitted papers, and all the members of the IJCCI Editorial Team who helped make this publication possible. I hope you enjoy this special issue and look forward to seeing future research driven by this issue in other key aspects of intellectual property in the cultural and creative industries, including brands and trademarks, the threat of the internet to copyright, know-how and trade secrets, contract issue, and protection of service design. Ours is a field ripe with possibilities, and hope to see papers on all of them in our issues to come.