Busting Down the ‘IP-Intensive’ Buzz Word

One of the latest buzz words coming out of the industry seems to be the term “IP-Intensive” or “IP-Intensive Industry”. While it is being sold as industries that are critical to America and employs millions of people and pays more than non “IP-Intensive” industries. What does “IP-Intensive” even mean? We decided to have a look.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

One of the terms frequently used in a GIPC, which we fully debunked yesterday, was the term “IP-Intensive”. While it was used so frequently throughout the report, the GIPC was certainly not forthcoming in defining what “IP-Intensive” even means. That raised our suspicions.

Ars Technica actually exposed the broad term, commenting:

The report has an extraordinarily broad definition of an “IP-intensive industry.” Thanks to the inclusion of industries that rely on trademark protection, the list includes the residential construction, “dairy product manufacturing,” paper, and grocery industries. That’s right—if you hang sheetrock, bag groceries, or answer phones at a paper mill for a living, you’re probably in an “IP-intensive” industry as far as the Obama administration is concerned.

I tend to agree that this is an overly-broad term. So, where did it come from to begin with? This government report (PDF), if anything at all, is a prime suspect. We skimmed through the report and found a list of what counts as “IP-Intensive”. So, we thought we’d share that list for everyone to show just how broad the term “IP-Intensive Industry” actually is.

IP-Intensive industries are: Oil and gas extraction, Residential building construction, Grain and oilseed milling, Sugar and confectionery product manufacturing, Dairy product manufacturing, Other food manufacturing, Beverage manufacturing, Footwear manufacturing, Pulp, paper, and paperboard mills, Converted paper product manufacturing, Printing and related support activities, Basic chemical manufacturing, Resin, rubber, and artificial fibers, Agricultural chemical manufacturing, Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, Paint, coating, and adhesive manufacturing, Soap, cleaning compound, and toiletries, Other chemical product and preparations, Plastics product manufacturing, Cutlery and handtool manufacturing, Other fabricated metal product manufacturing, Ag., construction, and mining machinery manufacturing, Industrial machinery manufacturing, Commercial and service industry manufacturing, HVAC and commercial refrigeration, Metalworking machinery manufacturing, Turbine and power transmission equipment manufacturing , Other general purpose machinery
manufacturing, Computer and peripheral equipment, Communications equipment manufacturing, Audio and video equipment manufacturing, Semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing, Electronic instrument manufacturing, Magnetic media manufacturing and reproducing, Electric lighting equipment manufacturing, Household appliance manufacturing, Electrical equipment manufacturing, Other electrical equipment and components, Motor vehicle manufacturing, Household and institutional furniture, Medical equipment and supplies manufacturing, Other miscellaneous Commercial equip merchant wholesalers, Druggists’ goods merchant wholesalers, Grocery and related product wholesalers, Grocery stores, Clothing stores, Sporting goods and musical instrument stores, Electronic shopping and mail-order houses, Newspaper, book, and directory pub, Software publishers, Motion picture and video industries, Sound recording industries, Radio and television broadcasting, Cable and other subscription programming, Satellite telecommunications, Other telecommunications, Other information services, Depository credit intermediation, Other financial investment activities, Insurance carriers, Lessors of real estate, Lessors of nonfinancial intangible, Specialized design services, Computer systems design and related services, Management and technical consulting, Scientific research and development, Advertising, PR, and related services, Other professional and technical services, Business support services, Travel arrangement and reservation, Outpatient care centers, Performing arts companies, Independent artists, writers, and performers, and Gambling industries.

No shortage of “other” industries throughout the list to say the least. the question is, why include so much in the first place? I strongly suspect the whole purpose is to try and inflate the “importance” of “IP-Intensive” industries and make it look like the US is far more dependent in intellectual property then it really is. It sets up the argument of “America depends (this much) on IP. That means the country needs much more strict copyright laws like SOPA.” The more “IP-Intensive” is inflated, the bigger the selling point.

I think it’s a change in tactics when it comes to pushing for draconian copyright law. It moves away from “RIAA is lobbying for new copyright laws” or “MPAA is pushing the government for tougher copyright laws” and obfuscates the push into a whole menagerie of industries that may or may not want those laws to begin with. I think that “IP-Intensive” is merely a buzz word that is used for the sole purpose of confusing the issues we are dealing with. I’m sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s going to take more than just vague buzz words to convince me that we need to dismantle the Internet.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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