As the world shifts from manual documents to online content, information is accessible to many people. An online platform is a conducive place for people to share information and ideas. Downloading content from the internet is easy. Even though some hosts try to control downloads, usage of the downloaded information is still a challenge. I have conducted an in-depth research to identify ethical issues concerning intellectual property in the IT industry. The first question of interest is whether there is a guarantee that copyrighted intellectual property is used for the intended purpose after being downloaded. Tracking of downloads’ usage is a major challenge since there is no technique to do so.
The second question is whether current measures and techniques being taken to protect intellectual property promote progress and improvement. I do believe that sharing of one’s ideas online has led to an increase in information availability and use. To an extent, this information provides people with knowledge. Innovative users will take the information and develop the idea further. Many arguments exist regarding this subject, where some suggest that laws protecting intellectual property are so strict that they do not promote the development of ideas.
Since the intellectual property has become available in great quantities, organizations have sprung to protect these data. Stringent measures have been put in place and adopted to curb intellectual property theft (University, 2015). To an extent, these measures have helped intellectual property owners claim what theirs is. However, as new technology such as encryption helps intellectual owners take control of their information, coding languages and techniques as well as emerging hacking technologies have been developed to circumvent them. Hence, my third question is whether intellectual property can remain free of hackers and what action ought to be taken against such hackers. New decryption tools and techniques are easily available and they have made management of intellectual property a real menace.
Maintaining ethical standards when accessing and using intellectual property is necessary (University, 2015). Hence, this paper offers in-depth answers to the questions above. This research offers a deeper insight into ethical issues in intellectual property and addresses three main questions herein.
Intellectual property is any exceptional product of the human mind with profitable value (Quinn, 2012). The hunger for success has made people go out of their ways to acquire useful information. Everyone desires to be the inventor, and if online information is available to serve this purpose, it is quickly stolen. Bright intellects who post their ideas online have more to lose once others steal their information. As a result, intellectual property laws are available to protect their information. Many theories have come up regarding these laws. Some theories dictate that these laws are too tough and they do not promote the evolution of ideas while others suggest that the adoption of harsher laws is necessary (Fisher, 2015). There are many questions about ethical issues regarding intellectual property in the IT industry. Majorly, the purpose of intellectual property, privacy and protection of intellectual property, and progress and improvement of the world’s technology through the intellectual property are addressed herein.
Purpose of Intellectual Property
Another key issue is the use of download managers to avoid detection or payment. Download managers are numerous and they come with state-of-the-art technology to ensure that users are never tracked. With features like anonymous downloading, even the intellectual property owners who wish to know someone’s location will never be able to do so, let alone keep track of how someone uses the information. Access to intellectual property meant to be accessible after payment is possible even without pay. Once the download manager picks an address, it can download the information for free.
Privacy and Protection of Intellectual Property
In this modern day and age, hacking has become a norm. As long as one has access to the internet, one can access information and lessons on hacking. The online platform has made this possible through the accessibility of hacking information. Moreover, elite hackers will even offer to train amateurs for free. Availability of information on hacking is what worries intellectual property owners greatly as they cannot guarantee that their information will be safe (Mason, 2011). Hackers breach systems for many purposes, some good and others bad. Those breaching one’s system for good purposes may even help one in setting up a more secure firewall.
Black hat hackers are hackers who breach a system for bad reasons. Intellectual property owners do try to safeguard their information. The growth of information and value of information are the two major threats to intellectual property (Mason, 2011). The value of information has made people dig deep to obtain information, even if it invades another person’s privacy. Firewalls meant to protect intellectual property are easily invaded. The growth and availability of information have made this possible because online boards are available. Information sharing via online boards is rampant, and if hacking is the topic, then numerous infringements are yet to occur.
Measures are in place to handle hackers, but they do not keep them away (“Intellectual Prroperty Ethics”, 2015). Few hackers are caught because some of them are so good that they can hack one’s computer, steal information, and leave without notice. To guarantee safety, privacy, and protection of intellectual property, new and stronger firewall technologies ought to be developed and implemented. Breaching of current firewalls is easy. A technology should also come up to identify anonymous visitors. Such a technology will help pinpoint all site visitors’ locations.
Progress and Improvement of Technology via Intellectual Property
Significant measures have been adopted to govern intellectual property. These measures have made intellectual property owners gain the appropriate appreciation for their tremendous work. Technological measures like media encryption are used to protect sensitive information (Fisher, 2015). Opponents of these laws believe that the sharing of intellectual property should be free (Masnick, 2010). I believe people should be able to access information. Doing this will facilitate improvement and evolution of the information into something better. As a result, intellectual property laws are deemed to be ‘unethical’ or ‘immoral’ (Fisher, 2015).
On the other hand, in case the intellectual property is harmful in a way, protecting it from access by viewers can serve a great purpose in safeguarding societal morals. Hence, the accessibility of intellectual property should be controlled depending on its purpose. For example, the formula for making Coca-Cola has never been known. Secret formula of Coca-Cola has enabled the company to gain significant market share worldwide and competitive advantage over its competitors.
Some think that protecting intellectual property does not promote development. There is truth to this claim as the laws safeguarding intellectual property hinder evolution. These laws are tough and strict and they ensure the apt protection of intellectual properties. People seeking information on the internet will often get inaccurate information because the right information has been protected using a wide variety of technologies to preserve it (Mason, 2011). In this case, my research shows that evolution and development of the protected intellectual property will not be possible. For example, the intellectual property is an idea about technology and it cannot be accessed by members of the public. The information will remain unknown and unchanged until the owner makes alterations. If other people could view such information, improvements could be possible through the provision of better ideas. Evolution of ideas is the basis of the software redesign and reengineering technology where older software is made available to users who then come up with ideas for enhancing the product.
For technologies like software redesign and reengineering to prosper, sharing of intellectual property is necessary. Furthermore, I advocate that measures should be taken to ensure accountability of not only the property users but also the information. I have also found out that if accountability of information is guaranteed, prevention of posting of wrong or misinformed information is possible. If the misinformed information is available online, many will be misguided (Mason, 2011).
Based on the above-discussed information, I clearly state that it is everyone’s duty to uphold ethics in dealing with intellectual property. Intellectual property owners need appreciation for their work. In addition, sharing of information is needed in the world today. It is by doing this that growth and improvement of technology will be possible. Intellectual property should be made available to the right people. I suggest that techniques for encryption should be used to safeguard information and keep hackers away from sensitive information. I also believe that tracking technologies like traceable tokens should be employed to track the use of intellectual property. Finally, it is our duty to be morally upright and ethical in our interaction with intellectual property in the IT industry.