Limited protection in IP law to encourage green innovation

I wonder if there's a way to limit patent or copyright protection for products that are not made from green materials, where the product could be made from a green material. For example, chopsticks.

The chopsticks in the photo are plastic and silicone. These could be made from wood and maybe a metal clip. It would serve the same function and likely have a similar functional product life. I wonder if there were an intellectual property rights protections carve-out if it would discourage the use of materials in product types which do not degrade gracefully. In this way does the law facilitate and reward inventions which complement environmental life-cycles, or does the law facilitate the consumerism which leads to the great pacific garbage patch?

Copyrights and types

I am trying to establish the kinds of materials defined as permitted for copyright, and some associated protections. For example, copyright circular 1 lists some types on the first page. Among them: Literary works, and sound recordings, which are two "broad" types of works outlined in US copyright law (Title 17 reproduced in Circular 92). The class Literary works further is divided down into several sub-types, one of which is software. My understanding of "literary" in this context is that one reads the text. So, I have some questions about these designated resource types.

  1. Is there a basis for understanding digital sound or motion pictures as software bundles? Or for copyright purposes are software and motion pictures very distinct classes of "things"?

My understanding is that the rights afforded to copyright holders are limited by type. For example, copyright allows the holder of an audio copyrighted resource to regulate the transmission via a digital audio transmission. Circular 1 states it as: "Perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission if the work is a sound recording".

  1. Do I rightly conclude then that this protection for audio is "type specific"? It cannot apply to, for example, sculptures, or motion pictures.

My understanding is that these types have slight variations to the protections afforded to them. For example, my understanding is that a motion picture is only copyright-able in a fixed format (congruent with other "types"). However, my understanding is that the copyright term only starts once it is published... published is a hard term to find a definition for. Circular 45 says the following:

"Publication of a motion picture takes place when one or more copies are distributed to the public by sale, rental, lease, or lending or when an offering is made to distribute copies to a group (wholesalers, retailers, broadcasters, motion picture distributors, and the like) for purposes of further distribution or public performance. Offering to distribute a copy of a motion picture for exhibition during a film festival may be considered publication of that work. For an offering to constitute publication, copies must be made and be ready for distribution. The performance itself of a motion picture (for example, showing it in a theater, on television, or in a school room) does not constitute publication."

  1. Do Creative Commons licenses apply to video material I host on my own website? In order for Creative Commons licenses to be enforceable or valid the copyright must be valid. If the copyright term only starts at publication, and publication requires sale, rental, lease, or lending, where in that process is free (libre) distribution?

This is of some interest to me as I am looking at comparing protections in different national copyright frameworks for ethnographic resources produced in scholarly contexts.

MIT-Harvard Model Open Access Policy

This afternoon I had a consultation with a UO librarian and the issue of Open Access Policy and Ownership came up. This librarian was very helpful in pointing me to some of the discussion terms for Copyright Policy and Open Access Policy. They pointed me to as well as to something called the "MIT-Harvard Model Open Access Policy". The UO model is the inverse of the MIT Policy in some regards. I take note of this with interest as as I was part of SIL's Copyright Policy Committee...

Which license and why?

It occurs to me that every time a new license is produced it is done as a response to a social context. That is, society has delivered a certain set of norms or reactions to existing ownership and licensing practices. It also occurs to me that with each new license created that there is an increased availability of licensing options to potential license users. Inherently this means that any given license should be expected to be used less with the release of a new licenses. I wonder if there is a way to plot the use of licenses, and the growth rate of new licenses.