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3. Intellectual Property

There are a couple points that came up in the assignments. Some arguments presented are one-sided and are not addressing the whole situation.

Protection is harmful and short-sighted
In the long run, it is not in society’s best interest to “protect” all the ideas and information we do today. This significantly limits innovation and progress in many areas, even though it can mean huge profits for a few at the expense of benefits to many. Drugs and textbooks are just a few examples.

Think about this. Perhaps there are fundamental problems with the copyright and intellectual property laws in the age of the internet. Trying to find a solution is better than trying to make laws and protections that are unenforceable. Rather than finding more ways to prevent perceived illegal use to limit distribution, find more better ways to share information in a way that benefits the creator and the user.

Art and the internet
Unfortunately all the focus has been on the music industry and their profit motive. If making money the only reason for creating music, that’s sad. This has overshadowed all the other “art” forms and the benefits to millions of artists at every level for online painting tutorials, creative supplies catalogs, online communities of artists, listings for events, blogs and individual sales.

There are some interesting questions in the assignments. Here are some examples.

About mobile phone’s security, does a game truly demand to be able to send premium text messages or access my contact? if so, why? And, isn’t an invasion of one’s privacy?

VT: Yes, some mobile games require you to pay and/or provide a lot of personal information if you want to play. These are businesses. They make their money from charging you or from selling your information. No, that is not an invasion of your privacy. If you don’t want to give them the money or the information, you can’t play. That is your decision.

Why is it okay for the video game developer to use the music but not the YouTuber to play the music in their video?

VT: Many people – game developers, television, movies and even some YouTube creators, pay the copyright holder to use the music in a commercial project or product. This is legal and a source of revenue for the copyright holder.

These are just a few examples of the great questions raised. Many are beyond the scope of the course. If you are particularly interested, research these questions further.

Thanks to everyone for their summaries and questions. And one last question to end this topic with…

Does the benefit of the internet outweigh the harms some say it produces? This is a great question. What do you think?

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