The idea of ownership is a strong concept in western culture. For example that is my car, my book, my CD player. The idea of intellectual property is to apply the idea of ownership to one's idea. The problem with intellectual property is that if someone "steals" your idea you still have the idea. If someone steals your CD player you don't have it anymore. Some may argue that in either case you would be out of money. IDEAS=REVENUE. There are several types of intellectual property: trademarks, patents and copyright. I will not be discussing patent or tradmark issues here.
For more information on trademarks on the internet see Daniel Tysver's page Trademarks on the Internet. He discusses issues regarding to trademark infringment on the Internet.
A Good site to visit for Intellectual Property and Patent law as it relates to software is Intellectual Property Protection for Software Related Inventions. by the Seattle law firm of Bernard, Pauly, and Bellamy. The concept of copyright is to protect this intellectual property.
Intellectual property that is not protected by copyright law by its very nature are:
Copyright protects that expression that is in a fixed tangible form(Mahoney).