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Research on Intellectual Property Right

In: Computers and Technology

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Research on Intellectual Property rightsBy Collins MerokaCollege |

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Introduction
Internet as seen in the present advancement in technology has brought myriad of achievements. It has further created a new world for online opportunities and challenges as well. In digital transmission of materials, protected work can be shared through the internet in one form or the other. These forms may include, but not limited to, music, still pictures, video clips and sound. With all these sharing, internet has become a common place to upload and download audio-visual materials like recorded films.
Copyright is a common method used to protect ones production rights on a particular piece of material over the internet. In fact, the graph below shows that copyright infringement is the most common type of infringement;

Figure 1: source; Canadian SME However, in peer-to-peer file sharing, most people infringe these rights and pass other people’s work as their own. In fact, IFPI states in their report that “the ease of access to music by means of illegal file sharing has damaged its perceived value to customers”. This has been a great challenge to music and film industry globally (Leyshon, A., 2003). For instance in the recent emergence of file swapping services that are based on the internet. These services include Napster that has allowed huge exploitation of recorded work without any little authorization of the users. Actually, this has been attributed to the slow rate of sales in CDs and DVDs due to enabled file sharing (P2P). (Mortimer, J. 2012).
Peer-to-Peer sharing and copyright law
Copyright in this context is the legal protective law for all kinds of creative work on any form(s) of media. This law therefore limits unfair usage of these intellectual properties in both real world and cyberspace. Infringement of these laws is called piracy. Piracy is an illegal activity and precisely, software piracy is the violation of the agreement that are regard copying, downloading, installing or distribution of digital media in computer software form.
In the recent past, distribution, exchange and sharing of files on peer to peer networks have rapidly increased. In contrast to the traditional methods, a distributed and decentralized architecture of computer network uses personal nodes called peers supply and consume online resources. This has been the major reason for the growth of copyright infringement. It was hard to conduct piracy and other illegal activities in a traditional network whose model for client server for consuming the same resources (Goldsmith, J., 2006).
Peer to peer is a modern and powerful technology that has a wide range of uses. P2P can be used to distribute and share software, movies and music among other digital materials. It is also used to upload and download the copyrighted items such as media resources. This free sharing can always infringe on the copyright laws if no proper mechanisms are deployed.
Understanding the protected property
A tempting target in the digital media to the general public is the intellectual materials that are in the form of digitized entertainment or computer software. Some people can be tempted to reproduce the work and later redistribute them as their own work. However, all intellectual materials have copyrights and are therefore properties of the owners. Unfair redistribution of somebody else’s work is therefore punishable under the law and criminals subject to a legal action.
In a legal perspective, issues arise when files are shared in a manner that violates the copyright laws in a process of transferring copyrighted work between two or more users/peers. However, there cannot be any infringement of the copyrights if the owners of the media materials and digital resources were concerned to these actions.
There are tasks like file searching and live streaming of video and audio that is made possible in P2P networks. This makes it easier to share these materials over a group of peers that are interconnected with the same network. Multiple peers also make some proportion of the computer resources like disk space, power and bandwidth available directly to other participants without needing to centralize their network by the use of a server. This leads to formation of a quick platform that users share their own content and take away the resources they need from other peers. (Leyshon, A., 2003). Such a technology is known well by users in copyright circles but ignored b when it comes to sharing of some resources and applications.
Piracy and copyright law
Privacy can is discussed in three-fold i.e. hidden costs, license not ownership and punishment. There are also various pieces of information that can be used to describe perspectives of relevant trade groups and the products that are targeted by piracy. These product categories include; computer programs, audio entertainment and film/video entertainment.
Hidden costs; the idea for rationalizing actions like “copying cannot hurt” has multiplies in an exponential way to even millions of individual thing on the same line. Looking in the dimension of hidden costs, pirating a creative item is stealing a greater amount from the owner that just the cost of only single copy of the item. If one considers the costs that goes into the production of those creative intellectual materials, this idea fails to be rational. In the production stage, the producer of intellectual work employs multiple people including, store clerks, creative teams, sales team, marketers and manufactures. Therefore, when one steals in the name of unfair redistribution, all these people loses and leads to accumulated hidden loses.
License not ownership; the purchase of artistic work or computer program on a specific media type that may include DVD, CD mp4 file and audio tape is simply a license to use your copy. This type of possession through purchase does not grant one “intellectual property” right of that intellectual work. In the U.A Copyright Act, the intellectual property is expressly protected and gives only the owners the rights to copy, reproduce, redistribute, adapt and perform publicly their work.
It is logical to agree that any form of shoplifting these productions is stealing and yet majority don’t extrapolate the logic to other forms like digitized forms. When one uses their purchased personal copies in other purposes that are past the licensed one, then they commit federal crime that is to subject them to prosecution of crimes or university disciplinary course of action.
Punishment: illegal activities in digital space and real world at large are retrogressive on the economy. If these negative effects and mush more others are not enough to stop people from piracy, then they should be informed that most company, institutions and countries have strict laws and severe punishment to the offenders of copyright laws. For example, the government of the U.S has it in law and the punishment for the criminals is a heavy fine or imprisonment or both. Therefore, it is condemned with high terms possible and people encouraged to respect other people’s work especially intellectual property.
Intellectual property and how they are protected
Audio entertainment; the Recording Industry Association of America or RIAA is one of the trade groups that represent United States’ companies for sound recording. This group is also the force that is behind the identification of piracy crimes and prosecution of the involved parties or individuals. RIAA group is also tasks to ensure the consumers of various media resources download and purchase materials from legitimate sources as listed by musicunited.org and other sites.
Musicunited.org is legitimate site with collective webs that deal with artists, musicians and writers. Under their statement, musicunited.org has it that whether a user uses services for peer to peer like Ka Zaa in sharing media resources with other people over the internet or assembling favorite file and the burning them on a CD before sharing with friends, it is illegal to make to copy and redistribute any copyrighted item without permission. It is also a drag (Mortimer, J. 2003).
Film/video entertainment; Motion Picture Association of America or MPAA is another group that is tasked to prevent privacy of video and film materials. It is estimated by MPAA that the cost of privacy on film and video products alone sums up to $3billion every year in a potential country’s revenue. This cost does not include the losses due to the Internet because they involve complex computations and are difficult to estimate.
MPAA further provides a list of material types that are prone to pirating; Digital Versatile Disc (DVD), other optical Discs including Video Compact Discs, laser discs, Internet, broadcast and videocassette, downloadable media, streaming media and hard goods among others.
Computer programs; Business Software Alliance or BSA is a body mandated to protect the software industry in the commercial world. The body estimated that the U.S economy loses billions of dollars every year in tax and wage revenue. In addition, thousands of citizens have lost their jobs. There are various scenarios that BSA describes as being software piracy. They include; * Swapping of disks with other people * Use of a single licensed copy to install a particular program on numerous computers * Leveraging the advantage of offers for software upgrade to evade purchasing the legal version of the software copy. * Copying disks and redistributing and installing them * Taking the academic versions or non-commercial software and using them commercially without their consent. * Visiting counterfeit websites and sites like peer to peer networks and downloading the software for installation.
However, it is notable that the pirated software do not save the users much if the actually consider the problems caused by the counterfeit copies. Some of these problems include the following as noted by BSA; * They offer little or no documentation * The software are defective * They lack technical support * They have a greater exposure to several viruses * No warranties * They are not legible for any upgrade Use of patents and analysis of major statistics Some of the business models on the industries have currently evolved to include new inventions based on technology. These inventions are patented and later licensed without manufacturing any good. Qualcomm is one of the largest organizations with market capitalization of about $96.00 billion. The organization’s business model was founded successfully on establishing and licensing various property rights. Value of patent was demonstrated recently by Google when it placed a bid of $ 900 million for Nortel portfolio of about 6000 patents. The sad part was that it lost $4.5 billion on a bid by other consortium that included RIM, Sony, Apple, Microsoft and Ericsson.
However, the power to protect patents can also be abused greatly. As a comment on the Nortel patents bids, Google gave a statement that, “The patent system should reward those who create the most useful innovations for society, not those who stake bogus claims or file dubious lawsuits” the concern was widespread especially for the so called patent “trolls’. Also on the Act for the U.S. Patent Reform of 2009, Patent Fairness coalition stated that a reform was needed to protect the innovators and inventors from these unjustified lawsuits. They also stated that the intellectual property owners need to be allowed to continue to make goods and services for the sake of the growth of the economy. In 2011, Microsoft obtained membership for a crowdsourcing services that were intended to invalidate and challenge patents of specious software and avoid some costs like for litigation.
According to statistics, there is a rapid growth in the patent applications in terms of their volume. This in turn leads to creation of patent “thickets” which occur in some scenarios. Scenarios like where overlapping and interrelated patents leads to uncertainties of who is the owner of the patents may consequently make one to get licensed. The technology space has also become litigious and the problem now is when innovations are stifled resulting to being a barrier to entry of new parties and individuals (Hoban, G., 2002).
To solve these problems associated with patent rights, the ITU, in conjunction with International Electro technical Commission (IEC) and International Organization for Standardization have actively engaged to develop patent policies. The policies developed by these organizations aims at ensuring that all the patents in the world of technology encourage the owners of intellectual property to share freely their materials knowing that their interests are catered for.
Implications for the regulating bodies
On the side of the telecommunication regulators, the copyright era is a new era. Piracy and other forms of copyright infringement have come along with this era. Endemic heights of extreme piracy through the internet are amounting to significant pressure on various business models ion the industry, regulatory environments and on legal frameworks. In a report by the Europe, Neelie Kroes who is a commissioner gave a stamen that confirmed the fragmentation in the copyright system and does not hold the interests of the property owners who include artists. “The system does not have frontiers”, he added. The system is portrayed as giving intermediaries a more prominent role which is supposed to be given to the owners of intellectual property. This scenario is irritating to the public who have interests of accessing the artist, writers and software developers’ wants. This leaves an empty space which is sadly filled by illegal entities to serve the public the illegal content. It is sad because this deprives the rightful owners of their deserved remunerations and also adds up to other hidden costs. These challenges not only face the European environment, but also other nations and environment as well. Considering the digital economy nature at global levels, most of these challenges and other more are rapidly increasing and they impact heavily on the digital market and the regulators.
It is therefore of critical importance to the economies to establish an environment that will foster innovations and inventions through creativity. This will go a long way to enhance fair competition, exploitation of transformative potential and free speech in digital media technology. This means that there is establishment of a focal point on which the regulators will balance both innovations and protection of copyright laws in all the aspects.
Regulators are also tasked in ensuring that the growth of digital economy is experience from year to year and the realization of societal benefits also comes true. To this far and according to statistics, light touch on nurturing the current digital economy is an option to the regulators rather than just an intervention.
Pros and Cons of file sharing open source
Open source in this context is used to insinuate that software that is distributes freely to peers along with its source code that allows anyone to modify it and use it. Open source movement includes both the formal and informal parties and individuals who willingly support the use of open source licenses. An example of open source movements is the Open Source Initiative or OSI that was founded in 1998. This is a nonprofit and international corporate that advocates and educates on the benefits of using open source licenses and software.
Some of these open source programs include application programs for downloading and other files and sharing them in peer to peer network. This free software have seen the growth of networks to having millions of users who can also share videos, software applications, music files and other programs.
Bit Torrent is one of the P2P programs that is widely used to ensure fast and safe sharing of files across P2P networks. The application is supported on a variety of platforms including operating systems like Linux, Windows and Mac.
Kazaa is another popular P2P application whose popularity has grown from the early days of evolution in Peer-to-Peer networks. It is also compatible with variety of operating systems like XP, Windows and Vista. Though the application gained popularity due to its capabilities, there has been a challenge of infected file being shared.
General pros and cons of using opens source software are numerous; one of the distinguishing properties of open source software is that they are free. It is cost free and there are no requirements in terms of licensing. Most of them have been aimed at having greater customization and that implies that particular software can be tailored at individual and business level according to needs.
With the increase of these programs, there has also been an increase in the rate at which computer viruses, ad ware, spyware, and malware increase through the applications like Bittorrent and Ka Zaar. This has made it difficult to find a safer and faster means of sharing P2P files and materials online.
Summary and conclusion
According to Carol Twigg (2000) findings in "Pew Learning and Technology Program", the following is a compiled list for the summary of the major findings in the intellectual property issues; 1) The following are specific cases in relation to ownership of intellectual property; * Unext.com case; this case involves institutions making business deals with third party organizations. Content go to this third parties and other external organizations. * Miller Case; some faculty possess the right to online tutorial materials and sells the materials to other colleges through the professors as their free agents. * Case Net; also involves selling of courses to various institutions like colleges. The faculty has a running business out of that. 2) All institutions ought to have a well-defined and clear statement of their policies and functional mechanisms in place to ensure copyright laws and other issues are addresses. 3) Some of the observed frequent scenarios; an institution develops an online course with some technical support from the IT department. A faculty is employed create content and to teach using the course. College therefore claims rights of ownership but never lays a claim to the original file prepared by the faculty in their manual course prepared. 4) Some of the possible scenarios can be; the faculty will own the materials and contents but not the course outline, college owns the course and not the materials for the course, faculty owns the materials of the course and the course, the college owns both the course and the materials. 5) Defining the course materials; they are fixed expression of resources and ideas that are based on the course outline given. They are therefore subject to protection by copyright laws. 6) Defining the course; a comprehensive outline of a particular set of materials that has been combined in a scholarly way to substantiate all the activities of a program in a academic semester. 7) The finding came to a conclusion that the courses developed will include five major components; course material, content, program structure and goals, planned interaction and offering of the course. 8) NOW THE LAW; it is to determine the ownership of the course material and course outline. * Copyright laws ends the moment some piece of work is fixed * Act of 1976 for Copyrights and the Digital millennium Act. * Policy for fair use * U.S. Code Title 17 under section 107 on ownership rights
The findings of the symposium has a logical conclusion that the default position of the faculty in all the colleges should be just a member whose ownership rights are on the works he or she developed. In addition, there should also be a triggering mechanism in case the materials are commercialized and the college reaps some royalties too.

References
Twigg, C. A. (2000). Who owns online courses and course materials. Intellectual property policies for a new learning environment.
Hoban, G., Neu, B., & Castle, S. R. (2002). Assessment of Student Learning in an Educational Administration Online Program.
Leyshon, A. (2003). Scary monsters? Software formats, peer-to-peer networks, and the spectre of the gift. Environment and Planning D, 21(5), 533-558.
Mortimer, J. H., Nosko, C., & Sorensen, A. (2012). Supply responses to digital distribution: Recorded music and live performances. Information Economics and Policy, 24(1), 3-14.
Goldsmith, J. L., & Wu, T. (2006). Who controls the Internet?: illusions of a borderless world (Vol. 89). New York: Oxford University Press.

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