This article covers a few high profile cases related to intellectual property. It discuses how Apple is looking to patent “a combination of a sensor, processor and what Apple calls a ‘protective mechanism’ all within the handheld device.” Google is fighting anti-trust law suit which allegates that Google promotes its own travel services too widely, “stifl[ing] competition in the advertising industry.” Disney and other production companies sued Isohunt claiming they facilitate copyright infringement.
The case with Apple is an excellent example of how the patent system can stifle creativity and progress. Their description is so generic that it will prevent any company from devloping a protective device even if it uses an entirely different methodology to achieve the same goal. Apple is trying to patent the entire concept of protecting a “handheld device”, not just a method of doing so. This case shows the legal processes and protections undermining undermining progress.
The case with Google counterpoints Apple by showing how a company has thrived in the face of government opposition by creating an effective advertisement system without attempting to prevent other companies from doing the same.
Lastly the case involving Isohunt illustrates the paradox of how intellectual property rights are handled. Isohunt provides the ability for users to share torrrents similarly to how Google allows users to share content on Youtube or provide their [Googles] search functionality. Disney and Paramount Pictures are not suing Google in spite of the numerous links and videos that infringe upon copyright on a much larger scale, so why Isohunt? It appears these companies are preying on a weaker company in order to set or reinforcea legal precedence.
And yet, a persons property is do with what they wish, so by purchasing an album they may give it to whomever they wish. However, sharing the album with millions of people is clearly a violation of fair use, or is it?
A study done by the Institue for Prospective Technological Studies (European Commission) concludes that there would be a 2% drop in legal music sales if illegal filesharing web sites did not exist. Their research also showed that the majority of people who download music illegally would not buy music even if there were no filesharing sites. Other studies corroborate this claiming filesharers spend 30% more on music than those who do not fileshare.
With evidence that claims immoral actions, according to Katianism or Rule Utilitarianism, actually profit for the people claiming to be harmed what are we to do?