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Debate: Abolishing intellectual property rights

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Should intellectual property rights be abolished?

Background and context

Intellectual property (IP) is a legal field that refers to creations of the mind such as musical, literary, and artistic works;
inventions; and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce, including copyrights, trademarks, patents, and related rights. Under intellectual property law, the holder of one of these abstract "properties" has certain exclusive rights to the creative work, commercial symbol, or invention by which it is covered.

Critics of the term "intellectual property" argue that the increased use of this terminology coincided with a more general shift away from thinking about things like copyright and patent law as specific legal instruments designed to promote the common good and towards a conception of ideas as inviolable property granted by natural law. Some critics of intellectual property, such as those in the free culture movement, characterize it as intellectual protectionism or intellectual monopoly, and argue the public interest is harmed by protectionist legislation such as copyright extension, software patents and business method patents.

Contents

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General public: Does Intellectual property harm or help the general public?

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Yes

  • Intellectual property harms general public of developing nations. Intellectual property rights harm the general public of developing nations, whom cannot afford to purchase foreign products, but still require the same funtionality or design of foreign products.
  • Intellectual property helps sustain businesses, employment. Intellectual property helps the general public of whom are employed by companies facing financial turmoil caused by competing companies counterfeiting and undercutting their products.
  • In a communist society there is no monetary incentive. Everything is distributed freely and equally to everyone. Forget intellectual property rights , there are no property rights either. Will you give up your home??? The communist manifesto has no place in this discussion.
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No

  • Intellectual property rights help ration scarce resources. Eben Moglen dotCommunist Manifesto - "Society confronts the simple fact that when everyone can possess every intellectual work of beauty and utility--reaping all the human value of every increase of knowledge--at the same cost that any one person can possess them, it is no longer moral to exclude. If Rome possessed the power to feed everyone amply at no greater cost than that of Caesar's own table, the people would sweep Caesar violently away if anyone were left to starve. But the bourgeois system of ownership demands that knowledge and culture be rationed by the ability to pay."[1]
  • If the purpose of writing or any art form is to convey an idea to as many people as possible then. intellectual property rights impede the point. If a writer is only interested in arousing or educating the masses then s/he should distribute her/his work freely.
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Economics: Are the costs of implementing IP rights greater than its benefits?

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Yes

  • Cost of monitoring IP rights are high. Even if IP rights were administered to a piece of work, ensuring that it does not get copied and dealing with plagarism are very costly affairs.In the world of the internet where any text can very easily be copy-pasted and (purchased and copyrighted) books can be uploaded to and downloaded from free global software. It is near impossible to protect intellectual property rights. Resources could be diverted to other uses. And there are added the costs to the writer who has to BUY copy rights, that may or may not(more likely) in the end, insure protection.


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No

  • The penalties of violating IP rights cover the cost of administration. Hefty fines and penalties are levied to people who plagarise, hence the act of monitoring IP rights are self-sustaining.


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Are Intellectual Property Rights of no use to the authors of works?

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No

  • Confusion created by intellectual property is exploited. Richard Stallman argues that "the term [intellectual property] systematically distorts and confuses...and its use was and is promoted by those who gain from this confusion. [It] operates as a catch-all to lump together disparate laws [which] originated separately, evolved differently, cover different activities, have different rules, and raise different public policy issues."
  • A writer needs and pays for protection. Especially when his/her work is his bread and butter. Writers need intellectual property rights to maintain/sustain a dependable livelihood. If one's work is freely distributed, distorted, used and abused. Then one will be defamed and penniless, defeating the entire purpose of being a professional writer in the capitalist context.
  • If the author merely wants to express views, IP is of no value. The benefits to the author are in their Then intellectual property rights are of no real use to the author.
  • If the author is dead, IP means nothing to them. he/she is not profiting from his work and since s/he was accredited in his/her lifetime fame/honour/credit/honor is not lost by free distribution. Shakespeare stands as an example , Albeit some people are still profiting from HIS work.


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Yes

  • Intellectual property allows people to survive. Intellectual property rights allow people to survive from the time the put into their creative works.
  • Intellectual property rights acknowledges the effort of the author. Similar to a deed who states so-and-so as the rightful owner of a plot of land, IP rights act in the same way.
  • Ownership over IP can be passed on to another person The creators of works can allow IP rights to be passed on to another person, as in the case of 'ghost writers'. It is, to the descretion of the original creator, who chooses what he wants to do with the IP rights in the first place.

See also

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