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Protecting Copyrights and Intellectual Property Essay

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Updated: Sep 21st, 2022

Introduction

In a modern society, the use of digital data and information has both benefits and risks. While computers and internet enhanced the opportunities to access critical resources and perform common tasks faster, the risks of piracy and abuse became more evident. The central issue that emerges in this case is how to enact the appropriate laws of protecting copyrights and intellectual property on the web to ensure that personal information is not compromised. To explore potential opportunities, the review of the textbook and recent articles on the subject will be further conducted.

Summary of Selected Resources

The analysis of copyright and intellectual property protection is further built based on the three main publications. The first resource is a chapter on digital society by Bowles (2013), which explores the five concepts of privacy, law, economy, community, and education with relationship to the risks of information and data misuse. Overall, the author relates intellectual property to any piece of data available online in a digital form, capitalizing on its vulnerability for unauthorized access and reproduction.

The overarching terms used to describe breach efforts are privacy as illegal digital copying, and peer-to-peer piracy that is based on cross-sharing copyrighted content with other users (Bowles, 2013). The author admits that law enforcement process operating across governments, universities, and trademark protection organizations exists and develops, while it is almost impossible to completely eliminate piracy as a digital society problem.

The second resource provides more in-depth analysis for the ways intellectual property rights should be regulated against the time factor. Specifically, Oliar and Stern (2019) explore the importance of law doctrine application that “involves a trade-off between assigning entitlements to resources earlier or later in the process of their development and use” (p. 395). The discussion is based on the idea that property rights allocation is risky when awarded early because the resources are not put in the best use. Similarly, if awarded later, it promotes exclusivity and prolonged contests for ownership if original rights are expired.

Hence, the authors primarily appeal to the issue of commercial environment, where changes in ownership rights bring risks to content acquisition and better utilization, arguing the need for change in copyrights management and trademark laws.

The third resource refers to the problem of massive copyrighted content digitization, which allows owners to extend control over its allowable use on the web to prevent theft. Specifically, Kowallis (2019) stated that such efforts are complex to maintain and contain limitations to the public interest, when over time the intellectual reservation of copyright principles online fully limits content accessibility.

The discussed principle behind is the application of legal principle denoted as fair use, which could be potentially equated to easement for rebalancing copyright issues. Through the paper, Kowallis (2019) argues that it is important to balance property rights of competing owner to maximize usefulness of digital products through the application of fair use. However, the limitations associated with piracy and legal provisions such as selected sections of the Copyright Act are also described as public detriments.

Analysis of Selected Resources

The main point articulated in the first resource is that any attempt to distribute copyrighted content through the web without having an explicit agreement of the owner to do so is considered as piracy. To explain the scope of the issue, Bowles (2013) refers to the highest piracy rates of more than 60% observed in the Central and Eastern Europe and Asia Pacific, while admits the lowest rates of 19% for the United States. However, it is still acknowledged that pieces of creative work should be shared by authors to gain attention and recognition online, which means that those should learn how to protect copyrighted data.

Bowles (2013) mentioned that the application of traditional copyright laws is still a valid option; however, there is also an alternative to apply for the consultancy of non-profit organization named Creative Commons. It allows the authors to provide digital signatures that regulate product sharing to some extent or none at all depending on the intentions and content sensitivity. However, it is also admitted that piracy self-education, licensing, and the use of software protection is required to address copyright law breaches.

The time factor used as a starting point for discussion in the second resource is primarily explained through the normative notion of the first possession. Specifically, it refers to the way digital ownership rights transfer from one owner to another, and means to treat the rights for possession after a chain of the proprietary changes (Oliar & Stern, 2019). Another important finding of the study is the issue associated with copyright laws that prohibits authors to officially register the piece of content until one is fully completed. It means that if one is leaked or stolen, it could be easily shared with the public and therefore bring statutory damages (Oliar & Stern, 2019).

For the rights transfer, the authors also articulated the importance of applying the first-committed-searcher rule as the principle to capture acquired rights and being related as the source of ownership. Finally, it is also argued to consider the importance of divided ownership, when either two or more coauthors work on the content or initial author seeks for support from another organization to control ownership distribution.

The third resource explicitly focuses on the application of fair use to regulate content digitization and balancing ownership rights. According to Kowallis (2019), it denotes “equitable balancing of the legitimate needs of the public against the exclusive rights of a copyright holder” to leverage on competing interests (p. 1073). Kowallis (2019) makes a reasonable comparison of the copyright ownership with a long-term lease, which is perfectly applied to any content hosted on the web for a short period before one enters public domain. The example of such approach is a transformative use policy developed by Google, which owns its set of online platforms while providing delegated access to users for storing the content in a cloud environment through easement. Hence, fair use is described as a limitation of private ownership that will eventually bring more advantage to the public, while the one is beneficial for avoiding piracy and efficient copyright management.

Comparison of Selected Resources

There are both similar and contrasting points voiced by the authors of the textbook and two chosen articles. First, all authors acknowledge that the use of enhanced forms of intellectual property rights protection is essential to address piracy risks, whereas Bowles (2013) provides more generalized opinion on the subject. Second, there is a similarity in envisioning the need to apply legal ethics for considering the time for ownership as a construct that regulates public availability of the content (Kowallis, 2019; Oliar & Stern, 2019). Finally, there is an agreement among the authors that there are issues associated with provisions of the copyright laws that require future revisions to be applied to the intellectual property management more effectively.

The main contrasting point identified for the chosen resources relates to what constitutes public and private ownership and underlying legal principles. While Kowallis (2019) argues that fair use is essential for sharing rights in a public domain, Oliar and Stern (2019) express concerns for such effort based on the risks for both early and late entitlements. Hence, while the former tells that any privately owned content will eventually become publicly owned through the transition of rights, the latter attempts to provide legal explanations for preventing it.

Personal Opinion and Conclusion

From the personal perspective, it is worth admitting that all studies provide meaningful insights on the issue of managing copyrights and intellectual property. While Bowles (2013) provides broader scope for considering how the problem could be tackled based on a set of defensive strategies and internet abuse mitigation, the other two studies articulate the importance of law application. However, it is worth agreeing with the alternative standpoint of intellectual property as a construct that currently applies to the things it was not initially intended to regulate, such as sex and abuse (Gilden, 2018). Hence, with the future proliferation of digital technologies, the context of online ownership rights protection is likely to change further.

To summarize, when dealing with the threats of digital piracy and privacy, it is important to consider legal side of protecting owned content on the one hand, and developing personal computer literacy on the other hand. The reason behind, is that law enforcement principles for intellectual rights protection were initially developed for the physically published rather than online content, which creates confusion when reapplied for the public internet accessibility. Hence, new methods of coping with emerging threats for ownership rights should be explored further.

References

Bowles, M.D. (2013). Introduction to digital literacy. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Gilden, A. (2018). Sex, death, and intellectual property. Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, 32(1), 67-115.

Kowallis, K. (2019). Treating fair use as an easement on intellectual property. Bringham Young University Law Review, 2018(5), 1073-1118.

Oliar, D., & Stern, J.Y. (2019). Right on time: First possession in property and intellectual property. Boston University Law Review, 99, 395-458.

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