It has always been a major concern of programmers and software developers throughout the world, to protect the intellectual property rights and software privacy.
Governments in different countries fight computer software piracy; in which it provides support to national programs in order to educate and provide awareness to business communities.
Governments especially in wealthy countries, has taken serious actions related to software piracy through laws that prohibits it, they force penalties to those who commit software piracy.
Software piracy has reached a further approach, since it includes piracy of movies, music, computer software, and CD recording.
Governments, institutions, companies, and organizations all stated a clear point of view about software piracy and protection of intellectual property which in fact stands up fiercely to minimize it and reduce its effect on the society, as well as protecting the creative ideas and innovative expertise that provides a competitive advantage to the society in general.
On the other hand, communities with individualistic, collectivistic, democratic approaches, and other parties with other approaches; each stated its point of view clearly according to its own interests, concerns, and objectives; since, some of these parties fight software piracy and supports protecting intellectual property, and mainly those parties are the ones concerned with about the benefit of the society. On the other hand, there are some parties stated that they oppose protecting intellectual property, for the reason that their objectives and interests are their major concern instead of the whole society.
Collectivism and individualism, democracy and totalitarianism, rule of law and rule of man: what do these concepts say about the intellectual property rights of software and the legitimacy of its protection?
To begin with, the terms collectivism and individualism arises from the major term which is political system. A political system; is a set of political organizations, interest groups, and institutions, that integrates different groups into a functioning, self sustaining, and self governing society. The purpose of the political system is to protect people’s interests and objectives. Political systems differ from one country to another.
The term political can be discussed in terms of collectivism and individualism.
At first, the term collectivism encourages dependence on the organization and a preference for thorough training, satisfactory work place conditions, and good benefits. Collectivism is motivated by satisfying social needs and security. Its primal concern is to benefit the society in general, rather than the benefit of each individual. Since its concern is protecting the society, it stands fiercely for supporting intellectual property right and fights software piracy to protect the society.
On the other hand, individualism; refers to the primacy of the rights and role of individual; it emphasizes individual freedom, self expression, and personal independence – the principle that all men have “certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Countries that follow individualistic political system develop a form of government that protects every individual’s property and any intellectual property they create especially automated property due to the ease of piracy. As cultural attitudes influence the protection of intellectual property rights, individualist societies are more vigilant than collectivist societies.
Whereas, democracy and totalitarianism. Democracy is a political system that grants voters the power to adjust laws and regulations of the government to make decisions. Moreover, provides them the right to participate in elections. In general, democracy is concerned with individual property rights, especially the freedom to express their opinions. As well as protecting people’s innovations from software piracy. According to what is claimed, that democratic countries with strong political and civil liberties usually have lower software piracy rates.
As for totalitarianism, subordinates individuals to the interest of the group. Where a single agent takes control of the political power, and tries towards not supporting the ideology of the state as well as the activities that counters the goals of the state. Therefore, it controls people’s ideas, knowledge, and experiences and directs those to its own good and interest. Therefore, the intellectual property right is not its major concern as well as standing against software piracy. Since their objectives and concerns are related to the objectives and concerns of the agent with the political power.
As for the rule of law, states that no individual is above laws which are clearly specified, commonly understood, and enforced fairly, which are improved and regulated by the parliament. Due to that countries that follow rule of law, especially ones that create intellectual innovations, automatically protect these properties from the moment of creation.
Whereas, rule of man; states that the ultimate power exists in one person. Rule of man is opposed to the rule of law; less aggressively protect intellectual property rights. Since its major interests and concerns is limited to only what the man of power is concerned of.
Individualist’s societies are more cautious towards the protection of intellectual property when compared with collectivist societies.
What is the relationship among governments, institutions, organizations, and companies in developing the legal means to fight software piracy?
To begin with, a software piracy is the illegal copying of software. Software piracy is not a trend or a topic that appeared recently. Software piracy was the past and the present dilemma and will be the future’s too if it is not stopped. Types of piracy include: end-user piracy, pre-installed software, Internet piracy, counterfeiting, and online auction piracy.
As the software piracy problem grows, more people are affected by piracy daily. Software companies, governments, organizations, retailers, and honest consumers all pay the price for software piracy.
Parties such as, organizations and companies hopes that legal actions and political arrangements held by governments and institutions and other related parties would lead to a decrease in software piracy.
Governments are taking an increasingly stronger stand against piracy. They get nations to sign agreements and to require them to force intellectual property rights. Since software piracy affects governments financially. It robs the economy of jobs and in turn diminishes income tax revenues. The market fails and loses its attractiveness among international businesses as it affects the private individuals and investors.
Accordingly to the case study, governments fight piracy; they relied on technical and business actions as a counterattack. Such as, U.S.A enhanced efforts, threatening to sanction countries.
Institutions supported governments to toughen their laws. Since these laws can minimize software piracy and decrease its effect on institutions.
As for software companies, that are considered the biggest stakeholders in the piracy issue. They depend on software sales to fund their company operations and their future developments. Unfortunately, software piracy is now taking a large amount of the income these companies depend on away from them. As the number of Internet users continues to grow, software piracy will become an increasing problem and businesses will lose even larger amounts of revenue.
As their profits decrease, software companies will no longer be motivated to fund development of new products; which will reduce innovation, Consequently, software companies want stronger penalties enforced on all people who illegally copy software; a new and emerging trend being offered on the market is leasing the software. Retailers have taken a stand against software piracy too. Piracy affects all software retailers by forcing them to compete against cheaper pirated software. This competition lowers their profit. As the cost of the software increases, people turn to less expensive illegal substitutes. As for organizations, they provided global services in public policy, business development, corporate education, and the protection of intellectual property right.
Intellectual property; refers to the creative ideas, innovative expertise that give an individual, company, or country a competitive advantage.
Whereas, intellectual property right is the right to control and derive the benefits from copyright, patents, trade secrets, and trademarks. It is the right to protect those creative ideas. Problems occur because intellectual property is hard to conceive but easy to copy.
There are number of agencies that were created to protect intellectual property right such as:
• WIPO (World International Property Organization): it is one of the sixteen specialized agencies to encourage creative activity as well as to promote the protection of the intellectual property right.
• TRIPS (Trade Related International Property Rights): it is an international agreement managed by the WTO (World Trade Organization). It has minimum standards and requirements for many intellectual property forms.
Generally wealthier countries provide stronger as well as stricter protection of intellectual property from piracy.
Notably such countries consider these properties more widely than poorer ones.
Communities whether they are collectivist, individualist, democratic or totalitarian, applying rule of man or rule of law, governments, institutions, organizations, and companies. All of these parties stated clearly as discussed previously, that they are prohibiting software piracy since they are cooperating with each other in minimizing this dilemma or at least to minimizing its effects on organizations. Through forcing laws or through organizations that encourages innovative ideas yet protecting intellectual property rights by forbidding piracy. Such organizations include; WIPO (World International Property Organization), TRIPS (Trade Related International Property Rights), and other related organizations.
Software’s intellectual property rights can be protected when following these steps:
1. Writing the name of the author, or the creator on all of the copies that are distributed to the public.
2. Determine the time in which the product was released and distributed to public.
3. Modify the product every now and then.
4. Protect the product against any crises that might put the author’s reputation at risk.
5. Have a specific location for software programs.
6. Save master copies of software.
7. Provide software to only licensed users, and only allow authorized users to install software.
8. Apply security procedures on software used by authorized users only, which can minimize software piracy.
In conclusion, the standards of software piracy are explicit. Hence, parties have been hopeful that collective political arrangements and legal actions by companies, associations, governments, and institutions would lead to a decline in global software piracy. Government intervention and collaboration in offering legal protection for intellectual property, and the criminalization of software piracy are unsuccessful in diminishing the dilemma. Even efforts at the international level to get nations to sign treaties and to require them to protect and enforce intellectual property rights according to global, not local, standards have not yielded the desired results. Unfortunately, the ease with which software can be duplicated, sold, and distributed continues to baffle the industry.
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