There’s a lot of confusion about what constitutes intellectual property. The free sharing of information on the internet only makes protecting concepts or ideas in business even more difficult. That’s why it’s crucial to talk to your team about what they can and cannot freely copy or share as well as what differentiates intellectual property from general ideas that have no legal standing.

This clip from “The Social Network,” based on the true story charting the birth and rise of Facebook, will help start your discussion about intellectual property and it’s very serious legal and financial ramifications for your company.

NOTE: For our purposes, the lesson ends at 1:15, after Zuckerburg responds to his roommate, “No.”


What is the intellectual property being discussed in this scene? Name some other forms of intellectual property.

What determines whether an idea can be protected property or is in the public domain and free?

What types of intellectual property does our company, and your job specifically, handle?

How can you better protect our company’s intellectual property?

If you are currently using someone else’s intellectual property without permission, what must you do to comply with the law?



Bryan Belknap, an award-winning screenwriter and speaker, is Creative Director at Resonate Pictures, which specializes in story-based training and branding films. His new ebook “How to Teach Ethics and Compliance with Hollywood Movie Clips” is available for free download.

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