Intellectual Property on the Internet

Essay by speaker_000 August 2004

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The internet has slowly crept up on us in the last 10 to 15 years, and there are now legal issues about intellectual property, and wether the internet should act as a common carrier or a publisher, let me explain.

A telephone company, for example, is a common carrier. If an obscene caller is bothering you, the phone company will co-operate with police, but nobody thinks it's the phone company's fault some creep keeps calling you. Magazines and newspapers act as a publisher. They are legally responsible for their content and can be sued. The internet, however, acts as both a common carrier and a publisher. When it acts as a common carrier, for example chat rooms, forums and bulletin boards, the rules of the common carrier would apply. When it acts as a publisher, like articles or information the website have written and edited themselves, it makes sense the rules of publishing would apply, but isn't that simple to classify the internet.

Right now, on the popular search engine 'Google", there are approximately 4,285,199,774 WebPages on the database, and Google searches less then a quarter of pages on the internet. And don't forget, every day thousands of websites launch. With all those WebPages on the internet, it would be impossible to classify the every single page, with humans OR with a computer application, since there's not enough CPU power in the world to power a classification system like that.

Now that I have talked about general copyright and plagiarism on the internet, I will talk more specifically on internet music downloads. In the music industry various artists work hard in order to make music that many people enjoy listening to. They then sell their music to record companies such as Arista, RCA, Warner Brothers, and Jive, just to name...