Protection of Intellectual Property Essay

1030 Words 5 Pages
Protection of Intellectual Property
Introduction

There is a lot of controversy about intellectual property and its application to software. There are many difficult, fundamental questions that arise, such as exactly what aspects of a piece of software should be protected under copyright or patent. [5] Despite the fact that applying existing laws to software is not very straight-forward, some sort of legal protection for intellectual property is necessary, as it provides a significant amount of positive outcomes, which will be described further in this paper. We will argue that the legal protection for intellectual property is an ethical obligation from a rule utilitarian ethical framework because it promotes innovation and economic
…show more content…
[6]

One of the most useful aspects of the legal protection of intellectual property is the drive towards innovation that it inspires. This is traditionally accomplished through a monetary incentive that is a result of the exclusivity granted by a copyright or patent. The potential of being granted the exclusive rights for the creation and distribution of a potentially new and useful idea or technology is what drives people to create new ideas in a capitalist society. [4] By copyrighting software, software developers are encouraged to create new and exciting software because they have, at the very least, a monetary incentive to benefit from their work. Finally, copywriting software allows the creator to determine how his software is to be used. For example, software copyright has enabled licenses like the General Public License, which allows anyone to use the software without restriction, but requires that any modification of the software be “shared openly like the original.” [3] Clearly, the rights granted by legal protection of intellectual property have and will continue to promote innovation.

The legal protection of intellectual property also promotes economic growth. The manufacturing industry, as well as the pharmaceutical and publishing industries are among many industries in the modern…