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Free Example of Protection of Intellectual Property Essay

Intellectual property is associated with artistic and literary works, inventions, images, names, symbols and other creations. It has two categories such as copyright and industrial property. In the business world, intellectual property is an essential area of ethics as the ownership of rights may affect the level of wages – from a small salary to multi-million dollar income.

When the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued Napster, this turned into a famous case related to the ethical concern of music industry and its intellectual property. Napster was a website, which shared free music, and many people began to copy files from it instead of buying CDs.

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Napster declared that it had not violated any laws, but just had given the opportunity for individuals to share and download songs. The problem was that the company had no legal right to upload and share music . Those rights belonged to the recording studios and musicians. Consequently, RIAA made a claim against Napster in the court and won it. The verdict required Napster to close servers, and, thus, its business activity was stopped. At present, Napster operates as a paid site for downloading music and pays royalties for the sold songs.

The ownership of music copyrights was the central concern of that case. Although only the servers of Napster were allowed for storing and sharing files by individuals, the company had no moral as well as legal right to do it.

This example shows that intellectual property must be protected, as the consequences can be dangerous for its owners. Theft is an ethical issue, but the devaluation of assets and loss of income are other aspects that negatively influence one’s activity and brand. In fact, millions of profits were stolen from the recording studios and artists. In addition, consumers can also suffer from fake products. In order to avoid such situations, the protection of intellectual property should become a necessary part of legislation. IP rights help customers make an informed choice about the efficiency, reliability and safety of their purchase. They guarantee that goods are of high quality and genuine, as well.

Trademarks, copyrights and patents are the ways used for protection of intellectual property, depending on its type. A patent gives the competitive advantage over other players when the company has developed a better or new unique process or product. A trademark safeguards the product’s name, preventing others from using it. A copyright defends original authorship works, containing music, and when the work is recorded on a tangible medium, it will be under the law protection. As a result, the author can sue for copyright protection.

Increased protection of intellectual property has been observed over the past 10 years.  Sometimes, such protection can be excessive. If the singer stops to sell some pieces of music, its fans will be left with nothing. In this way, the intellectual property law goes too far. Thus, there must be a proper balance among the public good and content producers. “The need to maintain a balance between the rights of authors and the larger public interest, particularly education, research, and access to information” was recognized by the WIPO Copyright Treaty. Similarly, “the need to maintain a balance between the rights of performers and producers of phonograms and the larger public interest” was documented by WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

Nevertheless, the maintenance of proper balance was not the issue of concern in the considered case.  This was a breach of ethical matter because Napster knew that it did not have music rights.

In conclusion, intellectual property protection is critical to business success in every field. It provides owner with the economic benefits. Its defense is dependent on the IP type. There are occasions when intellectual property protection is too large, and an imbalance between the public access and authors’ rights can exist. The establishment of clear ownership lines is the best solution to the problem in any case.

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