Software Patents and Copyright
In an extensive way, copyright and patent philosophies include philosophical issues that are linked to the copyright policies as well as other jurisprudential that arises in the connection of the application and interpretation of the legal system apart from the copyright laws. The philosophical issue that arises prominently is the patent copyright law’s rationale as well as the way it helps in solving theft cases in relation to the invention and innovation of a person (Kobuss, 2009, p. 268).
There are people who consider ethics’ application in a legal system and to some levels how theories that include Natural Rights, utilitarianism and Kant are used. These have a tendency of providing terms that are meant for society’s good as well as for the good of some people who are linked to different innovative ventures. Nevertheless, in the contemporary copyright law, application of certain patent and copyright philosophies prevents it from realizing meaningfulness in ethical justifications.
Although the origin of patent and copyright laws are applicable intellectual property theories, the jurisprudence of these laws’ basis are Kant, Natural Rights and utilitarianism theories as seen in competing countries that include the USA (Pressman, & EBSCO Publishing, 2012, p. 39). Suppose an individual developed a software program that can analyze law data more efficiently than the currently known commercial software. It is highly possible that the demand for the new software will be high. There are individuals who may be motivated by this demand to copy this software so that they can sell it at a low price (Lippoldt, Stryszowski, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development & Source OECD, p. 210).
According to Kant, progress in the achievement of a properly emancipated culture is only realizable via the vital intellectual activity which is demanded by public communication. Freedom that is individually expressive refers to a condition that does not constitute the freedom of using creative work, idea or knowledge of a person publicly. Kant argues that the major legality that is defended is that the creativity of a person is his/her own happiness’ source and strength. As such, a connection between the nature of the provided protection to the right of the author and copyrights exists. According to Natural Rights, invention work remains the idea of an original developer.
Copying a developed idea of another person in part or full without their permission for reasons that include financial gain is prohibited. In terms of utilitarianism, creating equilibrium in the satisfaction of consumers of the services and their developers is the legality that surrounds copyright and patents protection. The aim of utilitarianism is to ensure good for the software application developers and consumers. If there is no protection right, the rightful owner of a program might miss its appropriateness. This is why the copyright and patent protection agency exists to ensure the general retention and good of a program by its original creator.
Copyright has remained the mostly applied software protection method according to the modern history. Copyright protection remains valid to any original work as laid down in its fixed or tangible form (Spinello, & Tavani, 2005, p. 179). Copyright protection’s extent has been inadequate because its protection level is limited to work’s expression and this leaves out the essence of the notion that led to the creation of the work. In relation to reliability as well as the essence of protecting the original invention idea, the era of cyberspace adopts patents and it considers it as the best means of protecting software. The main purpose of copyright and patent is to enhance the rate at which people exchange information as well as to advance ideas that might be beneficial to the entire society. Software inventions are on the increase and this has created an environment where technological growth is upheld. Human work has also been made easier (Moore, 2004, p. 310). As a form of protection, social cohesion and motivation towards the inventions of software, copyright and patents protections application on software assist in the creation of a society that has good morals.
The application of theories of utilitarianism, Natural Rights and Kant in defense of patents and copyrights fails to incorporate the intellectual property idea. Nevertheless, there is a connection between the utilitarian theory and the evaluation of the relative goods as well as determining whether to grant a person patents and copyrights on the basis of their innovative work as well as the aim of bringing more goods to the society than it would be achieved without these protections. The presented defense is based on these three theories. Nevertheless, it remains largely unsatisfactory (Thierer, Crews & Cato Institute, 2002, p. 88).
On the basis of comparison, these theories are inconclusive in terms of the protection level that is necessary as well as the associated penalties. Although there are people who argue that the effects of patents and copyrights are overall beneficial, others claim that these protections have detrimental effects (Galler, 1995, p. 229). Both use estimation and conjecture in devising their figures. They also present different hypothetical cases in supporting their arguments. As such, the method that is used to compare goods is incoherent since only qualitatively equal goods can be compared. This is the case when goods are compared in a simple, quantitative manner, more so when gain and loss of many is compared to respective loss or gain of few. For these difficulties to be avoided, different patents and copyrights justifications are required (Norman, 2009, p. 112).
Galler, B. A. (1995). Computer software and intellectual property law. Westport, Conn: Quorum Books.
Kobuss, J. (2009). Become a successful designer–protect and manage your design rights internationally. Basel: Birkhauser Va.
Lippoldt, D., Stryszowski, P., Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development., & SourceOECD (Online service). (2009). Innovation in the software sector. Paris: OECD.
Moore, A. D. (2004). Intellectual property and information control: Philosophic foundations and contemporary issues. London: Transaction Publishers.
Norman, H. E. (2009). Intellectual property law. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Pressman, D., & EBSCO Publishing (Firm). (2012). Patent it yourself: Your step-by-step guide to filing at the U.S. Patent Office. Berkeley, Calif.: Nolo.
Spinello, R. A., & Tavani, H. T. (2005). Intellectual property rights in a networked world: Theory and practice. Hershey [PA: Information Science Pub.
Thierer, A., Crews, W., & Cato Institute. (2002). Copy fights: The future of intellectual property in the information age. Washington, D.C: Cato Institute.