Ethics and Law in New Media/The Author vs the Information Society

Read Chapter 3 “Against Intellectual Property” of the Brian Martin’s book. Write a blog review (especially, comment on his strategies for change).

Types of ownership of information:

  • copyright,
  • patents,
  • trademarks,
  • trade secrets,
  • design rights,
  • plant breeders’ rights.

Disadvantages of information ownership:

  • stops development – companies can buy the patent of some new invention that would reduce demand of theirs products and that way stop the popularization of better product,
  • buying patents of goods found in nature, especial in the third world countries – the poor people have to pay if they want to use the natural goods that have been on the land that they live since ever,
  • it gives more power and wealth to those who are already powerful and wealthy,
  • instead to stimulate the production of new ideas it hides information,
  • crazy copyright ideas testify that information ownership has become a means for exerting power
  • Edwin C. Hettinger – there is no point of info ownership as sharing intellectual property doesn’t mean that one has to give it to somebody, the author is still able to use it no matter how many copies of it there are.
  • the product of intellectual labor is not actually one person’s accomplishment, everybody will admit that his ‘original’ idea was influenced by the environment and the society that surrounds him.
  • innovation is a collective process
  • in the markets of ideas: rules the most powerful – mass media influenced by governments – and usually their task is not to challenge the viewers but to please them; a lot of valuable ideas coming from alternative sources are underestimated.

How to change it?

  1. ideas should be available for everyone and nobody should own them,
  2. the scientific knowledge should be available for everyone as the fastest developing fields are the most open ones,
  3. it would be more useful to develop methods in order to support creative individuals, than just the ideas,
  4. in order to contest the legitimacy of monopolies granted by governments would be useful to change the way of understanding the issue – use term “monopoly privilege” instead of  “intellectual property”; also exposition of costs needed for the industry to work,
  5. instead of illegal copying the ideas it’s better to openly refuse the authority and do not cooperate with the intellectual property,
  6. use and encourage people to use and develop the “freeware”, with the help of the copyleft,
  7. if there are less credits available for the ideas the people will be more likely to share their ideas with no awards at all and this way prevent the intellectual property and try contributing to the freeware.

It was interesting to look at some statistics so I found a Special 301 Report from April 30, 2009, prepared by the Office of the United States Trade Representative. About Poland we may read:

The United States recognizes: the police closure in early 2009 of one of the largest
pirated optical disc distribution operations in Europe; the Government closure in 2007 of the
notorious Warsaw Stadium market, where large quantities of counterfeit and pirated goods were
being sold; and the efforts by law enforcement agencies to combat hard goods piracy. Poland
has yet to make adequate progress against Internet piracy and the trade in pirated and counterfeit
goods in markets on Poland’s border with Germany.

As far as I know the Warsaw Stadium market has been closed. So as we see the country is on its “good path”.

Copying from the table of contest we may see the list of countries that are considered dangerous to the intellectual property of the US:

Priority Watch List

  1. CHINA ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 13
  2. RUSSIA ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 16
  3. ALGERIA …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 16
  4. ARGENTINA ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 17
  5. CANADA …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 17
  6. CHILE ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 18
  7. INDIA ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 18
  8. INDONESIA ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 19
  9. ISRAEL……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 19
  10. PAKISTAN ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 21
  11. THAILAND ………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 21
  12. VENEZUELA …………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Watch List

  1. BELARUS ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 22
  2. BOLIVIA ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 22
  3. BRAZIL ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 23
  4. BRUNEI ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 23
  5. COLOMBIA ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 23
  6. COSTA RICA ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 24
  7. CZECH REPUBLIC …………………………………………………………………………………………… 24
  8. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC ………………………………………………………………………………….. 24
  9. ECUADOR ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 25
  10. EGYPT ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 25
  11. FINLAND …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 26
  12. GREECE …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 26
  13. GUATEMALA …………………………………………………………………………………………………..
  14. HUNGARY……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 26
  15. ITALY……………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 27
  16. JAMAICA …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 27
  17. KUWAIT ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 27
  18. LEBANON ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 28
  19. MALAYSIA ……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 28
  20. MEXICO …………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 29
  21. NORWAY…………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 29
  22. PERU ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 29
  23. PHILIPPINES ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 30
  24. POLAND ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 30
  25. ROMANIA ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 30
  26. SAUDI ARABIA ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 31
  27. SPAIN ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 31
  28. TAJIKISTAN …………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 31
  29. TURKEY ………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 32
  30. TURKMENISTAN …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 32
  31. UKRAINE………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 32
  32. UZBEKISTAN ………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 33
  33. VIETNAM ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 33

There are 45 countries on the list. Probably the small counties as Lithuania or Estonia are omitted because of the small amount of the illegal copies. So in total from ~200 countries existing in the world ~1/3 is considered suspicious. The whole report may be found here.

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