Internet Governance 8 November 2012

IPR & the freedom to share

Kris Seeburn
By Kris SeeburnGuest Author

The modern society and the sharing of knowledge in the public domain is challenged by the Internet and the protection of knowledge through Intellectual Property Rights. IPR is a core issue at the virtual workplace of universities. IPR is intertwined with the issue of easy online access. Not only, easy online access to valuable knowledge has become a precondition for economic success. Intellectual property protection at the virtual workplace also became a key factor for academic success.

As all works are potentially subject to copyright, institutions need a strategy to manage their own content and that of third parties. Individuals need to know how they can create and reuse content.

It is important that we remedy the legal situation as quickly as possible, because modern life is becoming information to an ever larger extent, which is a great opportunity for personal empowerment and enrichment of our lives. Emerging technologies such as molecular nanotechnology, which will have a dominant impact on our lives, is based on information to an even larger extent than any of today’s technologies. It is essentially guaranteed that the development of nanotechnology will be retarded by one order of magnitude, if we continue to let the legal situation spin out of control to the current degree.

Intellectual property is developing nevertheless into very complex legislation. On the other hand there are significant disadvantages to bring down the intellectual rights to a minimum, in case the importance of the worker who deserves credits for his creative work is undervalued. How to find an appropriate award in granting property right of a creative idea or product?

I personally do not want to live in a world that is so thoroughly worked up with restrictive legal approach that it robs from individuals the personal incentive to do wonderful and creative things.

A balance is needed between overprotecting and under protecting. The both extremes are undesirable and in some way unreasonable in real life. Looking at the protection of intellectual property a continuum can be designed, on the one side the extreme under protection of intellectual property, supported by the Open Source movement and the freedom of information.

On the other side the overprotection of intellectual property, advocated by interest groups supporting the idea that the creator of knowledge deserves full protection and rights on his creation of mind.

In the western world we see a tendency moving to overprotection of IPR. A balance is needed between overprotection and under protection of Intellectual Property. The desired range of intellectual property protection isn’t one exact point in the continuum, but it is a range.

This range is influenced by a lot of external filtering issues, like the characteristics of the products/services, the culture(s) of the country, legal systems, ideologies, political and societal systems, and others. In this range the balance should be defined best between these individual interests and reward fore mind-creations and the needs of mankind to extend knowledge.

Whilst we remain in the idea of “MULTISTAKEHOLDER” approach is like a god sent approach that has become the buzzword of town and on global language as well. I am seriously still puzzled to understand what the actual way would eventually be. Do we really need to see the reality? YES WE DO.

My call is come on people let’s get this working as it is really going and is affecting us more and more. The bottom line is whatever you do it will all boil down to Jurisdiction and if we let users do the management we might need to look at an all too different approach. One thing for sure, we know that the whole thing boils to another point which is definitely “Copyright Infringement”. THe borders of internet is playing on us the best tricks ever because we surely need to perhaps re-visit the whole thing.

We can carry on this discussion in a whole may take ages again. But all in all we need to stop somewhere and get down to acts and not spend time just talking/chatting.

Think Microsoft and how the whole thing came up which is basically Software piracy the number of products pirated but the whole mega industry of software is and have made the products restrictive but it is important to shift the economic model and go towards a model that helps the industry evolve and make the software accessible and attainable to the extent of using them. The traditional model has to really shift from the way it was to something which can help it move forward. The Apple ITUNES model for example has really made people start buying rather than just steal.

Food for thought !!!!


Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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