Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Fragile World of Digital Intellectual Property Rights: Thought Thieves’ Favorite Target

Intellectual Property Rights refer to the legal rights of an original creator or inventor of any
property that has commercial value attached to it. In the traditional physical world it is addressed
using familiar terms like patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade designs, industrial designs etc.,
all of which stem from the creative intellect and ideas of their creators, the fodder for which is
provided by their knowledge and innovative thinking, which from times immemorial has served
as a hallmark of success for each stage of human civilization. These IPRs are most commonly
used to distinguish one organization’s products and services from another, thereby, not only
informing the customers about their origin but also serving as a source of competitive advantage
for the organizations. However, the recent wave of digital technological advancements, that
started a few decades back with the emergence of the first bulky IBM computer, which gave
way to Information Technology and Internet later on; and in the contemporary times comprises
of high-end open-graph internet gadgets and cutting-edge technologies like smartphones,
tablet PCs, social media, online gaming and chatting, smart cameras, e-books and audio
books etc. have literally opened the previously closed “Pandora’s Knowledge Box” by giving
it universally instantaneous access. Today, just by the click of a mouse, someone living in
Bangalore and Bangkok can access wide variety of online content simultaneously. The issue has
swollen manifold with the availability of open-source software programs and P2P file sharing
networks like Bit Torrent, eDonkey etc., allowing one user to access an e-book or an online
game by illegally downloading and sharing it worldwide for free, thereby, depreciating both
its commercial and intellectual value big time by cutting its revenue generation stream and
discouraging future creative works by the original creators/inventors with lack of adequate
safeguard in the form of archaic and rigid IPR & Copyright Laws wearing a vintage look, often
both deemed incompetent by law enforcement authorities to effectively combat the new digital
age and scoffed at by the law violators, who often consider themselves above the law.

Call it the insufficient nature of the IPR laws to take on the very anti-IPR DNA of digital
information, or the lack of awareness and understanding or even misunderstanding amongst
people about their legal friends, but at the vortex of the entire chaos lies the creator (human behavior)
constantly at loggerheads with its creation (technology and law).

For more information, see my debut tech. publication below:

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