Shifting intangible assets

We all know that intangible assets are key to economic success. Companies and economies prosper by identifying, fostering and utilizing their intangible assets. But the the importance of intangible assets can shift from one to another. Circumstances are not fixed. An example of such a shift is illustrated in an article a few weeks ago in the Economist — “Copyright and the internet: Letting the baby dance”:

A decade ago, commercial websites featured nasty lawyerish warnings against copying the content. Now many of these same sites sport icons encouraging people to share the content as widely as possible over e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Loosening up may make more money than locking down.

In other words, the key intangible asset has shifted to the relationship, away from the content. Clearly companies’ strategies are adapting to and driving the shift. The question is, can public policy shift as well?

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