Vis-Ed – An Example of How IP Doesn’t Matter

Visual Education has sold language flashcards for years. Part of the value of the product is selecting *which* 1000 words to include in a set of language cards. I’m sure this information was hard-won by consulting linguists, or more likely paying a professor to compile a list and format the cards the first time. They charge a premium for the cards vs. the same cards blank (compare their set of 1000 Portuguese flashcards for $14.95 versus their set of 1000 blank flashcards for $6.95). I willingly pay this premium, but any entrepreneur could put together a set of language cards and sell them just like Vis-Ed.

Indeed, they could copy Vis-Ed’s list of words. I have no idea whether Vis-Ed can or does have a copyright on their list of words. Hard to see how they could. And yet, the premium charge is there and consumers willingly pay it.

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