Intellectual property (IP) refers to a number of types of ‘creations of the mind’, for example music and designs. These can be protected through various enforced law such as copyrighting or patents.
IP is divided into two categories. One is industrial design, which includes inventions and industrial designs and these require patents and trademarks. The other is cultural works such as films, novels and sculptures. Copyrights are used to protect these types of works.
The IP concept can be looked at as beneficial to development or it prevents progress. IP allows the producer exclusive rights to the concept enabling him to take the whole market and maximize profits. Thus more developers are willing to invest money to come up with new ideas as it would bring greater amounts of revenue as the sole producer. But as a society, the technology and knowledge are not shared therefore the overall progress is much slower. Companies will also have more flexibility in determining the prices of their products, so for consumers they would expect to pay more.
Companies are obviously for IP and are pushing for greater protection to reap the maximum benefits. But IP requires a certain amount of balance. The duration of copyright protection should be fair. It should be long enough for the initial producers to recoup the R&D costs, but no to long so they essentially run the market.