Copyrights- as known- are unique legal tool, allowing immediate, affordable and available protection of all works. Unlike ideas and thoughts, these works can be documented, protected, shared and used by their owners just like any other property.

Dr. Edna Pasher chairperson and myself, a member in The Israeli Smart City Institute – ISCI-, for the advancement of Smart Cities, have created and developed an original and unique program, within ISCI – ISCI’S IP IN A SMART CITY. This program merges the power of the copyright tool and other IP tools such as registered trademarks, with the knowledge created within a municipality and by the municipality’s staff. With this, valuable IP assets are created. The assets, in addition to their own value – award credit to the municipal staff that took part in their development, thus encouraging them to keep innovating and creating IP valuable assets within the municipality.

Intellectual Property (IP), is created and defined by different laws. The copyright laws around the world are one category within it. Copyrights are awarded to a work that includes new content (from artistic to documentary to professional), and in a vast spectrum of expressions (from documents to videos, to art work, software, architectural sketches and more). To be awarded with copyrights, the accumulated municipal knowledge must be translated into such works.

ISCI developed a program for the transformation of the knowledge created and accumulated in the municipality, in its various layers, into IP assets, including mostly copyright-protected works. This allows the utilizing of the works for the benefit of the smart city.

The program is based on the following stages:

  • Locating the knowledge by interviewing the staff.
  • Transforming the knowledge into works- directing the staff of the best ways to document and create the protectable works.
  • Utilizing the works for the city’s benefit (innovative activities included). The works created and owned by the smart city can be licensed and/or sold and /or

shared – according to the municipality’s choice and decision.

Custom made solutions or tools for the constant creation of these IP assets, and for innovative activities that lead to such creation (including electronic platforms, staff meetings, and open events to include knowledge contributed by the city’s residents), were created by ISCI. The added value of these tools is the engagement of the municipal staff and of the residents, in creating valuable assets for the city’s benefit.

ISCI trains knowledge workers and city leaders to operate a permanent “knowledge to IP” system, and a knowledge and IP management system.

These systems are aimed at encouraging the creation and the sharing of ideas, knowledge and eventually IP, within the municipality and city and between other municipalities and  cities, allowing for even larger innovative circles to be created- for the benefit of all of their residents and visitors.

In the past year ISCI has been leading an IP project within the education department in the municipality of Giv’atayim,  a city in the center of Israel. The project’s objectives are both the engagement of division managers and other municipal staff in the creation of the IP assets and also, the creation of a page within the municipal website- in which IP assets will be offered for download under different licenses. We are at the last phase of choice of content to be uploaded, and are creating a process by which the municipal staff will choose on regular base contents to be uploaded and offered to the public- on different terms that the municipality will choose. Presented here are examples of the works protected by copyrights that were chosen to be presented online: detailed programs for youth activities, educational presentations for parents of students, special forms and packets for different registrations within the education department and plans for events.

Copyrights play a major role in the protection of the municipal IP assets. This legal tool allows for any municipal staff member at all times to create protected works that can not only benefit the city but also benefit them, by awarding them with credit as the creators of the assets- thus enriching their personal online profile. In addition, Copyrights allow the city to share its knowledge and to choose how, when and with whom to share it with- and under the most beneficial conditions to it.

Penned by Rachel Pasher Ejkenaar

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