Originally Posted by SMF
There seems to be a lot of lawyers here. Can anyone explain in layman terms for me how they can keep their intellectual property without defending it?
I'm no lawyer, but in Germany for example, intellectual property is protected by the Urheberrecht, which only(!) expires 70 years after the death of the creator (or in a project with many creators, 70 years after the death of the LAST creator alive).
You don't have to defend it and you can decide to claim your rights after 20 years of ignoring violations.