This issue raises a lot of important issues and becomes something that individuals are grappling with as I am posting this. Initially, this question makes me consider Steve Jobs- he is a believe that anything that goes up online should be within the public sphere. I think their are many issues with this ideology- due to personal security, labor associated with artistic works, etc.
The issue is that we have developed a culture that operates off of instant gratification- a culture that is conditioned to get it's entertainment for free. Individuals are constantly downloading music, textbooks, films-- when they could very well be bought. If we want to create boundaries and confirm that people's ideas do matter (or that they are of worth and can be legally protected) then I think the psychology of people need to change. In this regard, I think it is happening to some extent. Vinyl Culture is an example of this-- where people will go out and buy records, supporting their artists-- because it is refuting the downloaders and establishing a sense of materiality.
This question of Intellectual Property reminds me of the artist Jeff Koons. Kate Taylor of the NY Times writes, "Over his three-decade career that approach, while helping to make him famous, has also brought accusations of exploiting other people’s copyrighted images. He has been sued for copyright violation four times, losing three of the cases." Here is the whole article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/20/arts/design/20suit.html?_r=2
Jeff Koons, reminds us that issues with Intellectual Property are nothing new- nothing specific to digital culture- but rather that this issue has been embedded in art history for a long time. Duchamp is a main source of discussion with his piece entitled "Fountain". Duchamp changed the face of art- through incorporating a found object into the gallery space-- a urinal. Art becomes more than it's material or formal structure- Duchamp establishes that art can be conceptual, an idea. But, again-- the question of who owns that idea is something that I'd like to discuss further in class.