Ethics and Intellectual Property Rights
As the application software acts as tool for thinking and working, which enhances the productivity of a user, thereby giving scope for innovation and increase in knowledge. With the growing use and Application of Information Technology the sources and access information has expanded exponentially.
With the information represented digitally (electronically) the issues of ethical converts started troubling the mind of everyone. The knowledge and information being assets for any organization or an individual. Their representation in electronic from has created-certain ethical dilemmas which are related to access, usage, copy etc. If the knowledge or information is hidden from others then it becomes useless, but if shared, it has to be ensured that it is not misused, which can be achieved by deciding with whom it has to be shared and also the extent to which it can be shared.
This knowledge being an intellectual property, the rights on this property has to be well established so as to give the justice due to the person connected or concerned. Let us consider the case where a person purchases a hard print copy/book, which may be used by him or few more individuals, whereas, once the digital document is downloaded, it may be accessible universally, which may have a direct impact on the sale of the published material, Hampering The Rights Of Author, who is the owner of this intellectual property. Growing concerns about the ethics and the intellectual property rights may have a direct effect on the consumers, who may have problems in accessing resources across the internet which may be like denying their fair right to knowledge.
With the Advantages Of Technology there has been a great change in the reproduction of the published knowledge, which has given rise to this issue.
Apart from the ease, with the growing communications with help of Internet, the access is worldwide, but there is no consistency in the laws and practices which make it very difficult for the author or content creator to have a strong hold on his intellectual property rights. Let us examine some of the issues in the access of Information:
Access to Information, Most of the time, the access to the Information In Internet involves copying the data and then storing them at a local computer, as when the data is accessed, it is downloaded from remote system to the current system, thereby making a copy on current system, which itself nullifies the basic right of copy which lies with the copyright holder. Now, the dilemma is that the authors who wish to digitalize their work and distribute then worldwide, can do this without involvement of unauthorized reproduction of their work. The Provisions Of The Copyright Act need to be reviewed to do justice.
This can be usually combated with licensing and giving specific rights to the information.
When a printed material is sold, the purchaser gets the access to physical content but the right remains with the author, even though the work becomes a public property, and can never be revoked as it becomes property of the public, even when the publication is stopped, it remains to be in archives of the public.
The access is dependent on the content developer; one can restrict the user to access the information, using various software technical products and skills. Thus can stop to an extent the unauthorized access, but still cannot have much say in unauthorized reproduction of materials.
This was about the content which is uploaded on internet, which can be accessed by Global networks. Now, let us look into the issued involved with Application Software.
There has been an alarming rise in the pirated software being available in the market, which are illegal copies of the original software. The application software development involves research, skills and many other aspects, which results in software which becomes ready to be launched commercially. These are sold to be consumers and license is issued to the purchaser. It is now very common that many copies of Illegal Versions Of The Software are made and used illegally which deprives the creators of the software, their right.
The menace of illegal copies of the software ha be curbed, which will ensure that the creators and developers of the software get their due. This is an ethical issue, one should be ethical enough not to make or use illegal software, as it is unethical to deprive one of his rights.
To curb this lot of steps are being taken by various disciplinary bodies including conducting raids, imposing fines, imprisonment of the accused etc., which will deter people not to use or make illegal or pirated versions of the software.
People should morally understand that by using illegal/printed software one is not only supporting illegal trades but also unethical practices which should be avoided.
We have discussed about ethical issues from the creator/developer/author of the software products/Intellectual property. Let us now discuss these issues from the user point of view. The developers of software should not include any such programs should into their software which has an effect on the privacy of users. The software should not use the local resources of the user for any illegal aspects/operations like copying the data, eavesdropping, jamming the networks or policies the users, without prior approval of the user.
The software should not do any such operation, which caused inconvenience or harm to the user in any form either in terms of privacy or security.
Lots of laws and enactments have been formulated and are in the process so as to protect the intellectual property rights of the developer, which will be one of the major assets for an individual in the coming times. The ethical issues and concerns which have been discussed can be morally solved rather than be imposed. Once the users realize the efforts put in by the developer and his rights, then all the issues will be automatically solved, thereby reducing the concerns of the world at large and the individual concerned.
This will give encouraging platform and environment for the content developers. Creators and Develops a Software, making an advancement towards a better world.