It’s A Knock-Off World
The case study provides a detailed overview of the copyright violations of intellectual property around the world. According to the case study, the violation of intellectual property has become a huge business and the damages have risen up to $600 billion which is no doubt a huge amount (Daniels and Radebaugh, 2015, p.168). There are different perspectives presented in the case study where some think that due to the high prices of expensive brands, piracy has become an ethical act as many people cannot afford the expensive brands which seem to be only for the rich. In the following discussion, I have answered the questions posed at the end of the case study that would help us understand different phenomenon like collectivism, individualism, democracy, totalitarianism, rule of law, rule of man and how these phenomenon are related to intellectual property rights in the national and international market.
- 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?
Collectivism or the primacy of the community (Daniels and Radebaugh, 2015) is related to the population of a society and how important they are. In this type of society, the welfare of the community is more important than the individuals. In such societies, intellectual property or the ownership of the copyright to a tangible or intangible product are not sacred. Instead the community takes precedence and the intellectual property that is produced by either groups or individuals is violated.
In societies where individuals are more important than the community itself, the copyrights laws and the rights to intellectual property are honored. This type of society provides legal cover to intellectual property rights.
Democratic system is the product of human progress over thousands of years. In this type of social setup, all members of the society participate in the overall decision making and all move towards a common goal. In a democratic society, the intellectual rights are recognized. There is a rule of law that treats all its citizens equal (Moghaddam, 2016). Copyrights protect inventors for their inventions. Software are protected for the intellectual rights and violating these intellectual rights can be punishable by law. On the other hand in totalitarianism setup, all the powers are controlled by a single person who make decisions for the whole society and nation. North Korea is an example of such a state (Armstrong, 2016). In this type societies, intellectual copyrights are not protected as the dictators make all the decisions and they persuade the common people that the interests of the group are important than individuals. There is a rule of man who has all the power and all the decisions that decide a nation’s future are made by the dictator.
- What is the relationship among governments, institutions, organizations, and companies in developing legal means to fight software piracy?
Software piracy is one of the main issues that is faced by the software industry in the modern world. Software piracy refers to the use of software without any purchase or permission from its developers. Digital piracy has emerged to be a huge international business and countries like India, China and Pakistan have continuously failed to take actions against those who are involved in digital piracy.
In different countries piracy has been declared a crime that is punishable by law. There is a great need for governments, institutions, organizations and companies to work closely to address the issue of software piracy worldwide. There are different international business alliances like Business Software Alliance and the software and Information Industry Association which are trying to pressurize governments to take actions against those involved in software piracy (Bezmen and Depken, 2006). There has been success in these efforts and in 2000 for the first time 184 nations of the world pledged that they will work closely with software developing companies to toughen intellectual rights and software piracy laws.
- Can the software industry control software piracy without government help? Why would the software industry dislike greater government regulation? How do you think customers in wealthier countries versus those in poorer countries justify software piracy?
In my opinion this is possible up to a certain level. I mean that software industry can develop techniques and programming algorithms that can help them protect software from being pirated. They can work to influence government by lobbying to make software copyright law tough.
The software industry would dislike greater regulations because this might impact their freedom as well. The software industry might lose the freedom to innovate without any boundaries.
The customers in wealthier countries justify piracy as it is only hurting the big businesses. While in poor countries it is considered as helping the poor as the big corporations are exploiting them with high prices.
- Can you envision a scenario where companies and consumers reach a relationship that eliminates the profitability of piracy—whether it is for software, music, movies and other digital products?
I do not think that there is a scenario where there could be a common ground for companies and consumers to reach a common ground in regards to eliminating profitability of piracy. This not such a simple issue and governments are involved in making such decisions. Piracy issue is not limited to a specific country hence it is not possible for companies to reach out to groups and individualism who are taking advantage of pirated software and make an agreement that they would stop it.