Case Study: It’s A Knock-Off World
According to Daniels and Radebaugh (2015) there are many reasons behind people violating the copy rights of intellectual property. The primary reason is financial. The cost of the violation of intellectual rights of software for different software developer is around 600 billion US dollars around the world which is a startling amount. Software developers adopt to different strategies to overcome the issue of their software distribute and used without their permission. They sometimes succeed and sometimes they don’t. The problems is that the people who cause the damages may also be expert software develops and know their ways around the software security. The case study, its A Knock-Off World, there is a profound discussion about this issue. In this paper, I have answered the questions that are asked at the end of the case study. I hope this will help me and the readers understand the issue in depth and different factors that influence the problem of intellectual property theft.
- 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, individualism, democracy and totalitarianism, are all philosophical concepts that help run a society with different approaches. The nature of the society and it adopted to a certain approach of social functioning has a profound impact on the laws, rules and ethics related to the safeguard of intellectual property.
According to Triandis (1995), collectivism is a form of social functioning where there is a focus on what is better for the whole of the society while in an individualistic society, the rights of the individuals are safeguarded. This suggest that the intellectual rights well be best protected in a society with individualistic setup as in such a setup, the individuals would be able to protect their software from being violated for the purpose of a combined good of the society. This is what we can observe in societies like India and China which are highly collectivistic and the unauthorized use of the software from its original develop is not considered a bad thing.
In case of a democratic society, the society does protect the rights of all its citizens, but there is a special care of individuals not being violated in respect to their personal rights. Intellectual property rights are the individual personal rights of the developer, therefore, in a democratic society, there would be more measures to protect these right, unlike a totalitarian society where the decisions are made by unelected leaders who may suspend intellectual rights to promote common welfare.
- What is the relationship among governments, institutions, organizations, and companies in developing legal means to fight software piracy?
Governments, Institutions, Organization and Companies need to work together to protect intellectual software rights in their own capacities. The development of formal laws is the primary responsibility of a government in a country. Same is the introduction of laws and legal frame work related to software piracy. Governments need to legislate tough laws to protect intellectual property rights. But government cannot inforce these laws and rules unless they have strong will and strong institutions like judiciary, prosecution and investigation departments. Therefore, the role of institutions cannot be ignored. Different organizations can advocate the necessity for fighting software piracy. These organizations may not be primarily software developing companies but other groups inclusive of personnel from software industry and other private and public sectors. The roles that software companies can play is multifold. First is that they need to reach out to organizations, institutions and governments and inform them about the issues they are facing in protecting their intellectual rights. Secondly, they need to develop means inclusive within the software that would protect even the expert intellectual property thieves from breaking their codes and distributing it without their permission.
- 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?
During the late 90’s the issue of software piracy started to emerge. There were only a few giant software companies who emphasized a new system to protect intellectual property rights in the software field (Thurow, 1997). These companies tried their best but were unable to protect against software piracy in their own capacity in the absence of strong legal frameworks to do so. Therefore they needed the help of governments to legislate and protect against software piracy. Since then, I think that software industry cannot control software piracy and need a regular help from the governments.
Companies would need to get help from government against software piracy but they would want to keep it within a limit as an unwanted influence from the government may mean an obstacle in innovation.
Customers in poor countries do not have the financial means like the rich companies to buy expensive software. For example most of people around the world need a Windows operating system on their computers but due to its high price, most people in the poor countries may not be able to afford it. Therefore, they may justify pirating Windows. The same goes for other expensive software.
- 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?
My personal opinion about this is that there is a possibility of reaching such a scenario where the profitability of piracy is eliminated. But, this would mean a decreased profitability for the software companies, may be in the short term. I think that many software and other digital goods and services are very expensive and out of the reach or an ordinary consumer. If the prices are lowered, there is no doubt in my mind that they will buy it.