Stealing is socially, and ethically wrong as it inflicts harm to others and most of the people will agree that stealing is wrong. However, when it comes to the intellectual property there seems to be a lack of consent on the criminality of stealing. Although many believe that the creators have the right to own their creation, the use of the creation is debated. Moreover, the technology and easy accessibility of many of the products online without restriction makes it difficult for the people to be careful of the Intellectual property rights (Fromer). Thus, the internet has ignited the issue of Intellectual property protections and the availability of the data. Even though people acknowledge the copyrights of the creator, the online availability and easy access to various products assist people to use the innovation without thinking about copyrights. Therefore, it is necessary to have a feasible balance between the copyrights of the creators and the public accessibility of the product as the product is made to be used. However, the creator must have the right to control its use and availability of the product to the public.
The creator has the right to their innovation whether it is a computer code, app, poetry, novel, music or any other form of innovation. They can make it public or private depending on the purpose of creation. If the innovation is for private use or institutional use, they have the legal right to restrict the public from using it (Akiyama and Furukawa). As a person has created it spending time, efforts and resources, the person must have the right to decide who should be using it and how it shall be used. It is ethical to ask the person before using it or take necessary and required steps before using it.
However, it is difficult as most of the innovations and creations are easily available online or offline. For instance, a person is searching for an app to complete some task online and the person finds it online free and downloads it because he needed it. In such a case the person did not pay attention to the ethics or the legal problems as the app was available online. Although the person used the app without even thinking about the consequences, shall he be punished or shall the person who posted it get the punishment? The availability of the products online and offline create the dilemma for the people and the internet users (Moore). Although people might recognize ethical and copyright concerns when they are downloading the need as well as the availability makes it hard for the users to be careful of the problem.
Regardless, recognizing the copyrights and obeying them would help both the public and creators. It will help the creator to be secure and earn from the creation and helping the public to benefit from the creation. Innovation and creativity help cultural, technological, scientific and literary knowledge, which ultimately assists the people encouraging the innovators and creators to create. The intellectual property is to assist and appreciate the efforts of the creators for enhancing public knowledge (Moore). It is to encourage them for their inventions and creations. Moreover, the idea can advance public good especially health and wellbeing through technological advancement and medicine.
However, the copyrights and patents limit the innovation from public access and if they make it available to the public, the charges are high that not everyone can afford to buy and use it. The Intellectual property rights and laws put a barrier between the creator and the public restricting the access to the creation. In addition, the copyrights last for 20 years giving enough time for the creators to earn from their creation, which becomes excessive compared to the efforts, time and money that the innovator puts into the creation (Akiyama and Furukawa). Even though without public the innovation might be useless, the access to intellectual property is prohibited to the public. The excessive intellectual property regulations are a barrier to the public interests.
Therefore, creative commons exist to facilitate the public and the creators. They help the public by minimizing the barriers and providing access to the innovation and spreading the creation of the creator among the public with some benefits. They are the mediators of public interest and the copyrights of the creation. They enable both the groups in advancing both the groups interests. As they ensure public, access to the innovation with lesser charges and enabled the creator in earning enough profit.
Although the rights of the creator over the innovation cannot be denied, the public interest must not be undermined. The innovators have the right to their product but they must make it accessible to the public at a reasonable price so that the public has access to the innovation and it can be used in advancing the public good. However, there should not be heirs of an artistic or technical creation because the heirs have not created the object nor have they contributed to the creation (Fromer). For instance, if a book has is copyrighted, the heirs, if they have not contributed to the innovation must not get the copyrights or patent for the creation but the innovation or creation must be made public for the public use. As the intellectual property was enacted to appreciate the creator, the heirs must be treated as public unless they have contributed to the creation but it does not apply in every case (Fromer). For instance, the apps, poems, IPs, computer codes or piece of writing must not be copyrighted to the heirs of the creators but other companies can be transferred to the heirs. All the creation and innovations must be made public by their creators and innovators as it helps everyone. Moreover, the copyrights of the intellectual property must be affordable for the public, as without public the innovation does not have the importance. It is in the presence of public that an innovation becomes important because they use it.
Hence, it is difficult to draw a fine line between the rights of the creator, the heirs and the public’s even though it is wrong to deny the rights of the creator and the public. The ethical point of view of the issue of the intellectual property supports public and the creator more than the heirs if they have not contributed to the making or creation of the intellectual property. It is unethical to not recognize the creator and not appreciate the creator for the innovation regardless of the benefits that the public might gain if it is made available without restrictions (WTO). Thus, the creator must get the recognition and appreciation for their work without restricting and affecting the rights of the public to the information and innovation. The intellectual property must be made available to the public with affordable charges.
To conclude, it is essential to safeguard the rights of the creator in order to assist and encourage the person for further creations but it must not be difficult for the public to have access to the innovation. It is only ethical when a person accesses the information with the permission of the creator because without recognition and the creator’s permission it is theft to use the creation. In addition, the creator must have the rights to limit and restrict the rights of their creation for some groups. However, the public must not be denied their rights to access the property.
Akiyama, Taro, and Yuichi Furukawa. “Intellectual Property Rights and Appropriability of Innovation.” Economics Letters, vol. 3, no. 103, 2009, pp. 138–41.
Fromer, Jeanne C. “Expressive Incentives in Intellectual Property.” Virginia Law Review, 2012, pp. 1745–824.
Moore, Adam D. “Intellectual Property, Innovation, and Social Progress: The Case against Incentive Based Arguments.” Hamline L. Rev., vol. 26, 2002, p. 601.
WTO. WTO | Current Issues in Intellectual Property. 2011, https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/trips_e/trips_issues_e.htm.