Software Piracy & Intellectual Property Rights

Software Piracy & Intellectual Property Rights

Introduction
Computer technology has created a new revolution in how intellectual property is created, stored, reproduced and disseminated. Understanding intellectual property and how to protect it are some of the new challenges that we face. Of course computers have given rise to a whole new category of intellectual property, especially computer software. A major commercial program can take a team of one hundred or more highly skilled and highly paid programmers years to create and sell for hundreds of dollars per copy. The fundamental problem with intellectual property as an ethical category is that it is purely individualistic. Meaning that it focuses on the creator/developer of the intellectual work and what he/she is entitled to. There is honesty in this, but not 100% honesty. It ignores the social role of the creator and of the work itself, therefore overlooking their ethically significant relationships with the rest of society.
Intellectual property shares many of the characteristics associated with real and personal property. For example, intellectual property is an asset, and as such it can be bought, sold, licensed, exchanged, or gratuitously given away like any other form of property (Hefter & Litowitz). Also, the

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