What are the advantages and disadvantages of intellectual property in the digital age?
Intellectual property (IP) is an umbrella term that covers copyright, patents, trademarks, designs, circuit layout rights, plant breeders’ rights and confidentiality and trade secrets. Each of these terms covers a different type of property that is made up of knowledge. Many of these terms cover physical objects, however it is the idea behind them that counts and needs to be protected. The above terms are all for different types of intellectual property; patents are for products, trademarks are for works such as smells, logos and pictures. Design rights are for the shape of something. Copyright is for literacy, for example music, film, multimedia and computer programs. Circuit rights are for the way electronics are set out. Plant breeders’ rights are for new plants. In Australia for all of the above intellectual property terms, apart from copyright and circuit rights, you must apply for the licence and have it approved by the appropriate people and groups. The reasons these’s laws need to change is because people are stealing large amounts of IP in the form of music and movies, and the culture of the new generations has become one of internet surfing, peer to peer (p2p) downloading and hacking and because of that there are many advantages and disadvantages to intellectual property laws and how it is used in the digital age. All of this means that governments and interests groups are making lots of attempts to move intellectual property laws with the times. Some of these include The Australian Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Act 2000 (Act No. 110 of 2000) and in the US The Digital Millennium Copyright Act Of 1998. Both of these have had some success in combating the illegal downloading and distributing of intellectual property. However, with the speed of the Internet age, it is almost impossible for the laws to keep up. On the Electronic Frontiers Foundation (EFF)...
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