Intellectual Property on the Internet Essay

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Intellectual Property on the Internet

On one of my first web sites I had an original graphic design, done by one of my friends. The design was interesting and eye-catching, two necessary elements for my site. I kept the design on the site for over six months, before taking it down and rebuilding. Almost a year after the graphic went up on my site, the person who designed it saw it on another site. After he showed me, he expressed his disappointment. He had put his time and hard work into this and someone else had just copied the image off my site and used it for themselves. The design was my friend's work and his intellectual property.

According to the United States Information Agency, intellectual property is
[i]nformation that
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These early laws were limited in scope and restricted to only a few types of information; the broader interpretation of these principles used today in the western world is quite modern, certain elements having been added only within the last few years. ("Some myths about intellectual property")

Although the concept has been around for a long time, protection of intellectual property has never been as much of an issue as it is today. Eric Chabrow explains:
That's because pre-Internet, intellectual property was fairly easy to protect. Books, illustrations, and reports could all be held in your hands. Even computer software, though trickier to protect, usually resides on disks that can be protected. But the Internet makes it a cinch for any PC owner to copy and distribute-that is, to publish-virtually anything on the World Wide Web. This powerful technology threatens to make copyright and other intellectual property protections obsolete. (Chabrow, Copyrights: What's Left?)

The copying of text, sound, and graphics has become easy to do, but it is extremely hard to detect. With the increased use of the Internet and software tools that ease the copying of information, text, sound, and graphics can be used without the permission of the author or creator. To copy a word, sentence, or an entire paper all one needs to do is
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