Ethics and Intellectual Property
Intellectual property, also known as IP, is an intangible asset that is the product of human creativeness and is also protected by the law. It was not until the later part of the twentieth century that intellectual property laws were necessary. Our world becomes more technologically savvy every day. While technology is becoming a big part of our lives, companies that produce these intangible assets are in competition for the legal rights that are associated with them. Some of the most common types of intellectual property rights include trademarks, copyright, patents and trade secrets.
One of the most popular and profitable industry in today’s world is with the entertainment industry. There is a lot of competition with artists and can be quite difficult to become successful. One the major reasons why it is so difficult to get a record label is because the artists have the potential to become millionaires. This is one of the reasons why it is imperative for intellectual property to be protected.
Importance of Intellectual Property
While intellectual property is becoming more important, protecting the rights has become more vital as well as complicated as time goes on. An example of one of the internet’s well-known intellectual property cases is between the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and Napster. Napster was sued by the Recording Industry Association of America because of Napster was allowing people to share music files which resulted in thousands of people downloading music as opposed to buying CD’s or purchasing the music online.
There were a lot of ethical issues that arose within this case. Napster did not believe they broke any laws, but instead they provided a gateway for people to be able to share music that was already downloaded by each user. Napster had also argued that their website was a way to promote unknown artists. However, its own webpage advertised, “with Napster, “you can forget wading through page after page of unknown artists” and “you’ll never come up empty handed when searching for your favorite artist again!”(Lamy et al., 1999). The only persons that were being promoted were the companies that were paying Napster for advertising space which is where Napster made all of their money. Even though Napster was allowing their servers to be used for public sharing, they had no legal or ethical right to the ownership of all the music.
The Protection of Intellectual Property
In order for any business to be successful, the protection of intellectual property is essential. Depending on the type of intellectual property someone has, it will be the determining factor on how to protect it. Going back to the Recording Industry Association of America versus Napster case, Napster was sued for copyright infringement. Copyright infringement is the act of...