Will the 1's and 0's Run Free?

The Future of Intellectual Property on a Broadband Planet

When former antagonists Napster and Bertelsmann made friends a few months back, many assumed that the war between copyright and technology was over; that a workable scheme for protecting Intellectual Property in new media was on the horizon. Not so, argues Brendan Koerner: efforts to control IP in the Information Age are doomed to fail, thanks in no small part to the policy preferences of the American public and its leaders for open access and a competitive market in new media.

According to Koerner, when it comes to information architecture, complexity works at cross-purposes to control: the more parties with a piece of the pipe, the more holes for enterprising hackers and software tools to exploit. As long as Americans object to monopoly control of new media, Koerner argues, the information flow cannot be controlled, and effective information and communications policymaking must begin with an acceptance of that proposition.


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  • Brendan I Koerner
    Fellow, New America Foundation