Law

What is Intellectual Property?

Humans vs. Robots (part 2): Usage of Robots to Fulfill Emotional Feelings  
​“Intellectual Property” relates to innovative creations that aid the mind and it can be literary, artistic creations, inventive product or a symbol or image that is used in commercial work etc.
Intellectual properties can be divided into two categories.

  • Industrial Property Rights – This refers to “Patents” that give for innovative creations, “Trademarks”, technological creations and geographical intimation.
  • Copyright Law – This refers the ownership of literary creations such as novels and poems, visual products like films and artistic creations etc.


In industrial properties category, it has mentioned two words called “Patent” and “Trademark”. Patent is an exceptional right that is established to provide protection to innovative product or process that provides a technical solution for doing a new thing. Patent protection can be granted for minimum of 20 years to each product or process. Trademark can be referred as specific sign that is created to identify a certain product or service which is provided by an individual or an organization. This system, there is an ancient method that mentions the ownership of the products such as make a signature on pictures and today’s world have granted a system to register the trademarks and provide protection to them. These trademarks aid the consumers to identify the specific character of the products or services.

As mention before, Intellectual Property protection law has three branches such as Copyright, Trademark and Patent. These Copyright and patent protection laws are generated according to the fragments of copyright and patent that is referred in U.S Constitution.  But in nowadays intellectual property violations are radically occurring over the companies, individuals and over the inventive ideas of them. As an instance, because of internet everyone has authority to download others’ creations. So the following paragraphs will describe why we should protect intellectual property rights and how issues have raised over the intellectual property rights.

Why We Should Protect Intellectual Property Rights?

When essentially considering about the rapidity growth of global commerce, protecting intellectual property rights has become as one major litigious issue. Intellectual Property rights related business rivals are not only dominated trade over the nations, but the businesses that happen within the nations. Some of the trends such as globalization of technology and personal skills make the way to the birth of new innovative technologies and skills. They paved the way to emerging new businesses over the rapid developments of global economy. These rapid growths increase the importance of intellectual property rights protection, and political and economic backgrounds of nations should be involved into the protection of rights.

Following paragraphs will describe the most dominant issues that was raised against the intellectual property rights such as economic conflict about the feeble protection of intellectual property rights, corny patent systems of developing and developed economies, raised stress about the protection of intellectual property rights among the developed and developing countries and proposed reformation methods that are held by government and business related responses etc.

Criticism Over the Issues of Intellectual Property Rights

​Nowadays intellectual property rights of international trading and marketing have seen a large influence of violation. Most of the companies have used developing countries as their markets and they offer their products for lower prices. When considering about this matter, sometimes it is a good opportunity to the consumers to purchase their requirements for a low budget. On other hand, it can be a misleading strategy of those companies. For an instance, this case has risen for the most popular and branded pharmaceutical manufacturing companies. These companies make their markets over the developing countries and distribute their products. Most of these companies deliver antiretroviral drugs for the treatment of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and virus inflective people can make a long contract with these pharmaceutical product manufacturing companies. When considering about the legislations, this violates the “Human Right Act (1998)”, because it describes as “Regarding to the exceptions to the Right to Privacy, should consider about protection of human health and moral”.  And also in “BCS Code of Conduct” describes under the “Public Interest” aspects “Have due regard for public health, privacy, security and well being of the others and environment”. But such matters happen all over the world and it can be a huge effect to violate the eternity of human beings.When we consider about the education sector, we can see that there are lot of text books that are written and distributed by many professors for students’ educational purposes and as a way for earning money from distributing their knowledge. But some of these books are too expensive. So most of the developing countries private class teachers and private institutes usually provide the photo copied version of these books for their students freely or sell at a lowest price. In most of Asian countries teachers extract and copy their lessons from these text books and they provide copies to the students as the real owner of these particular lessons. But true owner is another one. The original book owners are writing these books by giving their full priority and valuable time towards the writing. But these unauthorized extractions have clearly violated the privacy and security over the information that by being published as soft copies and hard copies.When we consider about the outlets of information communication technologies, such as internet that has already widely spread around the world had made a huge impact over the boundaries of intellectual property rights. Technology advancement is happening every day and because of it earlier copyright methods, codes and laws are no longer appropriate for the breach. In the modern world most of the people use the digital procedures to publish or share their work, such as in blogging, you can find that copyright law as “All Right Reserved”. This procedure makes a limitation for file sharing and blog publishing, because in nowadays these all procedures are under the “Creative Commons”. These Creative Commons (CC) copyright license and tools make a fake balance on the traditional “All Right Reserved” procedure that is being set over the copyright law and this procedure grants a standardized way of permissions to all the individual creators and companies to copy, edit, distribute and remix etc. while breaching the boundaries of copyright law. For an instance, Wikipedia is one of the most popular social media search networks and it is a huge blog for people to find anything that they want. But because of this creative commons license procedure, they give authority to individuals to edit their blogs that they want. Sometimes people can be trapped under the fake senses about the information that they had from the blog too.

Regarding to the internet there is another major issue which has risen against the copyright law. Many people who are using internet make a different sense and perception when they make their definition of the privacy. It comes under the files that download from the internet. Most of the people that use internet believe that the ownership of the creation is more complex and it is obviously breached by the copyright law. Actually this is a breach of law, because the file downloading method is being made as a tactic to free download everything that the particular user wants. This is called as peer to peer (P2P) file sharing. For an instance, one of the most popular free downloading blog “Torrent” has used this P2P technique for downloading. All files are uploaded by many anonymous users and they can give authority to download these files freely. Most of these files and some of applications such as software are already sold through the internet as a result. By giving such free downloads makes the real owner of the product suffer. In common words it says, the owner is the person who takes pain to make the invention, with or without having a patent. By breaching the copyright law anonymous parties can score well by having the product in indirect ways. But still any government or non-government organization could not have take an action for this issue.

Another issue is the disclosure of confidential information that is faced by the business related organizations and this happens mainly due to social media networks. Without having significant knowledge about the confidential information of the organizations, such as trade secrets, innovative ideas can be made visible by the employees of the company by related and non-related third parties over the social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn and many other social network blogs. The confidential information about companies or individuals is released through chatting, commenting on social network blogs that post by anonymity. Such massive trade secrets releasing through social networks is a violation of the intellectual property rights. In the other hand, some of the social networks are free to speak and even to receive such information. Then they can start to write, interpret or manipulate using the user comments or histories as commentaries for their enjoyment.

Nowadays most of the users that use social networks use trademarks without the authorized permission to fulfill their own commitments. Most of the users in social networks every now and then can create many profiles, pages, groups and applications by using unlawful trademarks of others. Creating and leading pages, profiles and such things are violating the trademarks and violate the responsibilities of trademark rights over the world business competition. Trademark is the guarantee that is given to a particular the product or service by the company or individual. Using such things for groups and pages of social networks anonymity can give fake information about person’s or company, service and product guarantee. Giving fake guarantee review by anonymity for products and services of the real company can destroy the loyalty, connection and sponsorship of the said company. Under the influential conditions of trademark rights, trademarks are tolerable for ‘Fair Use’. It means, trademarks is the uniqueness of the product or service that provided by a company or individual and they can publish their commitments about their product and services in official blogs and social networks. Unauthorized Trademark usage is a one way of violating company or individual’s information breaching “Data Protection Act (1998)”. Under the data protection act they point out “Personal data must be processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects, including the rights of informing when data is first processed or disclose to third party”. Regarding this matter famous social network named Facebook has established some kind of violation report systems over the uploading photos and status to reduce the unauthorized trademark uses. But still you can see how unauthorized third parties use trademarks for fulfill their purposes.

Like unauthorized use of trademarks, breaching copy rights laws is another problem that is seen today over the social networks. As mentioned before, individuals have the authority to publish their own information such as text, video, photos, music, and some other reports such as reviews innovations etc. However collecting information by anonymity from what the owner has posted and post them on their own blogs or social network profiles as the owner is vastly happening in social media networks. For example, Facebook has thousands of fake user profiles using photos and under fake names. This can violate the personality, uniqueness and other habits of real owners. Creating such profiles and harm to user’s character are creating a way to violate the legal aspects of “Human Right Act (1998)”. When considering the describing under the ‘Privacy Rights’ it mentions that, this act should be “raise regarding the prevention of disorder or crime and health or moral of individual”.

‘Elakiri.com’ is a one of the biggest music videos and mp3’s providing website in Sri Lanka and this website has a fan page and chat room facility also.  This page is a place that publishes innovative and creative creations such as reviews, poems and songs etc. among the Sri Lankan teens. But because of unauthorized accessing, these publications are at a vast risk. It means most of the anonymity that use this particular website, can download such creative things and publish them in their own profiles in other social networks. As in human right act, according to the “Data Protection Act (1998)” this is a massive violation of individuals’ information, because it mentions “no one has authority to access one’s personal data and cannot share them to other parties for fulfill their purposes”.

To reduce these violations copyright laws are modified as ‘Safe Harbor’ at all over the world. It mentions that there is someone to assume, in conflict with the fusion after receipt of the notification and they will be secured from the memorial. The process of the safe harbor automatically marks the use of trademark and gives solution security procedures for them to be carried out by the website owners for the unauthorized uses of the Trademarks that are being applied. There are some bad practices in order to gain permission for the use of copyrighted work against protection. One of these is being responsible for licensing fee for the work done by the owner. However, in some instances, that the license fee by the proprietor of the property is charged, and it is less exclusive than a violation of the action. Some of the contents can be available for public use without governmental permission, as open source code. In addition, each data requires nickname for the uniqueness of the author, and pay attention to the conditions for the use of equipment.

As violating trademark and copyright policies apply through virtual business world, in real business world also it happens in daylight. Most of the manufacturing companies are producing products as same as other companies.  For an instance, few years ago, one of Chinese mobile phone manufacturing company made their phones same facing and naming as real ‘NOKIA’ phones and they sold them for lower prices. Because of this ‘NOKIA’ had suffered more profit at that time. Like that ‘SAMSUNG’ has paid a compensation for ‘APPLE’ because of making phones in same finish. As a result, many companies had suffered their profits because of breaching copyright laws. Under the “BCS Code of Conduct” in “Duty of Relevant authority” phase says “Not disclose or authorized to be disclosed or use for personal gain or to benefit a third party confidential information except with the permission of your Relevant Authority as required by Legislation.” In this act has mentioned, usage of same kind of features such as same face and having profits from them is a ruthless thing for bargain other companies. But when having a review over the instance we can see that still these violations are occurring.

Next, let us see about another huge violation that happens over the internet. As mentioned before particular sites can give full authority to download files and application freely and some other anonymous parties are able to provide pirate copies freely form the forums and blogs. Most of the software or applications developing and selling companies provide a trial copy of their application to the users through the internet for getting the feedback about the product and because of this user has a chance to check the friendliness of the product towards them. But most of the anonymous parties such as hackers make pirate versions with offline registrations such as providing a common key for the all trial users and providing a common patch file to register the application or software. As giving peer to peer free downloading, this also violates the business backgrounds and strategies of the software producers.

Games are a one of most popular commercial products that can be seen on all over the world. In various types of games such as shooting, action fights and car racing etc. activities are built up by the game developers. EA Games and UBI Soft are some of major characters that raised their heads in game developing. When car racing game developing, these game developers use real world cars such as TOYOTA, NISSAN, BMW and BENZ etc. for their games. It is not an unnecessary thing. Yet, it can be a fortuitous thing for car manufacturing companies publish their car models. But in here these games give a chance to the player to drive their car as they want and it means that the developer gives authority to the user to develop amazing cars with virtual modification which does not exist in real world without acceptable permission of authorized parties. Because of the virtual game playing with modified cars, users can get a comparison regarding the cars such as speed and pick up speed etc. This can harm the sales of the real cars indirectly in the long run.  When we consider the “BCS Code of Conduct” in “Public interest” Sector mentions, “Products and services have to regard for the legitimate rights of third parties” and under the “Professional Competence and Integrity” phase mention that “Not to claim any of competence that you do not possess”. But still by breaching these regulations mass game developers are developing their games without authorization of relevant parties.

References

Cover Image: FREEPICK.COM. (2017) Content Asian Female Assistant Standing Copier [online] Available from: www.freepik.com. [Acceded : Jan 22, 2017].
Oshan Silva
Oshan is working as a project manager in implementation (civil and electrical) at Injinia Global Pvt Ltd. He also works as a web development lecturer in Panadura branch of National Youth Service Council.
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4 Comments

4 Comments

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