I've inserted this cartoon without permission of its author. It has copyright protection. If I were to publish it in an anthology of cartoons about the internet, it would be illegal. However, it is legal for me to use it under the "fair use doctrine" in order to illustrate a larger point. If one of the dogs looked like Elvis, I might be sued by the Presley estate (which was sold some years ago by Prisilla and AnnMarie). This is covered under laws pertaining to "privacy and publicity" rather than copyright. The situation concerning "intellectual property" is a mess and hardly conforms to the Founders' notions in the Constitution. In Thomas Jefferson's view, ideas themselves are not patentable. They must be reduced to practice. Jefferson did not see individuals as having an unalienable creator-given right to the fruits of their minds. That could only be granted by the State. Similarly, other property like land is not owned by an individual according to Jefferson. The sovereign or state grants property rights. Note the constitution:
"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."
This is unusual for the Constitution in that the Congress is told what it must do and the REASON behind that obligation. We don't give a person exclusivity, because it's the RIGHT thing to do. We give it, because it is the PRACTICAL thing to do. It's good for progress. Currently, we are way beyond that principle in that we grant exclusivity to estates of creative people and thereby inhibit creative use of a product for additional generations. We often inhibit progress. Philosophically, it all hinges on what we think of, as a right to our ideas. Note that Jefferson and Franklin never patented their important inventions despite the fact that they would be granted exclusivity under today's standards. Many of today's patents would fail the test by being an obvious extension of a previous work. Unfortunately, in academia having a patent has become a badge of honor like publishing lots of papers. Since the cost of the patent is most often born by the institution, the "progress of science and the useful arts" is not necessarily a consideration. The morass is made worse by the fact that licenses and permissions are often difficult to obtain, because one cannot find the current owner of a copyright. With respect -Joel