Intellectual property.

Essay by sconi250University, Master'sA, June 2003

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Intellectual Property

In 1996 worldwide illegal copying of domestic and international software cost $15.2 billion to the software industry, with a loss of $5.1 billion in the North America alone. Sources estimated current total losses from software crime are as high as $4.7 trillion. The Software Publishers Association indicated that approximately 35 percent of the software business in the North America was obtained illegally. In fact, 30 percent of the piracy that occurred was in the corporate settings. The fact is that the world today is much different than 20 years ago. Our lives somewhat revolve around computers and software.

The constant acceleration of the internet has increased the problem involving copyright and intellectual property. The internet today is a place where people can share music, books, magazines, programs, and information. The internet is sometimes considered unregulated making users believe that copyright laws don't apply to them. There is a widespread misuse of intellectual property because of this belief.

Information can fall under patent and copyright laws. Current copyright and patent laws aren't strong enough to protect people's intellectual property. It can even slow down software development and reduce competition. Intellectual property is not a physical thing. This makes it defenseless and very easy to copy.

Copyrights of products can sometimes be confusing to understand. If a person were to lend a friend a piece of software, that software is given to the friend including the copyright. However, if a person were to make a copy of a piece of software and then hand it over to a friend, that software is distributed without the copyright. This is an example of copyright infringement.

Another situation involving copyright infringement occurs when a person copies software for personal use. It is alright for this person to copy software, because the copyright stays...