One form of protection for Intellectual Property is Copyright. Copyright basically serves to protect any artistic or intellectual creation of an author or writer. Items such as books, magazines, articles, songs and the like all fall under the protection of Copyright. In a similar manner, Copyright can also be invoked to protect certain ideas that come from a single, distinct, and identifiable source that have been reproduced for profit without the consent or authority of the author or creator.
The protection of copyright is such that it even protects the creation of works that are done by an employee of a company. Certain statutes provide expressly that in case a work is created by an author during and in the course of his employment, the copyright belongs to the employer, if the work is the result of his other duties, unless they have an express or implied agreement to the contrary. If the creation of the work is not a part of the regular duties of the employee, the copyright belongs to him, even if he used the time, facilities and materials of the employer. Under these guidelines, it is clear that there are very strict rules that not only protect intellectual property under certain circumstance but also rules to prevent other people from profiting from them.
Another aspect of copyright is that once it is protected on a local level, it can also be protected on an international level subject to certain conditions. Under international law, if a country is a signatory to the TRIPS agreement or the Paris Convention, it also provides a similar protection to its citizens. Therefore, if a writer or an artist is able to protect his copyright, a similar protection is provided in all the signatory countries without prior registration in the same. This makes it difficult to use the information that is available on the works because of the penalties that are imposed due to a strict application of copyright laws even when there is no profit that is involved in other works. Similarly, the artistic license which people are granted invariably becomes curtailed by these regulations.
Given this, there are, however, problems with copyright, the foremost being that the copyright laws that are being instituted are designed to constraint new speech and the arts in American Society. It can be understood that given the stringent requirements of copyright law it becomes difficult to create and share intellectual property to encourage the free exchange and development of new ideas. One such consideration is the information that is shared on Wikipedia and on blogs. There are certain times that artistic freedom is curtailed and even intellectual discussions become limited by these restrictions. Instead of being able to openly create or to share, people become more concerned with infringements and violations that the ideas are often just stifled.
Fair use is one method by which these problems are addressed. Under the fair use doctrine, works protected by copyright may be used in other future works provided that certain guidelines are met. This is allowed when the purpose and character is such that it is for nonprofit educational purposes or is of a commercial nature. The second is thing to be considered is the nature of the copyrighted work. The third thing that courts consider is the amount of the copyrighted work that is used and finally the effect on the value of the copyrighted work. While there is no strict guideline for the use of these parameters, it is agreed that this permits a relatively wide latitude that allows for the encouragement of intellectual property.
It must be remembered that this intellectual property protection is instituted not to prevent people from using the ideas of others and using them to advance the knowledge of mankind but rather to encourage people to be more creative. There is no limit to what the human mind can imagine or create. As such, there is no limit to what can be achieved in the future.
Gordon, Wendy J. (1982). “Fair Use as Market Failure: A Structural and Economic Analysis of the ‘Betamax’ Case and Its Predecessors”. Columbia Law Review 82 (8): 1600–1657. doi:10.2307/1122296.
Leval, Pierre N. (1990). “Toward a Fair Use Standard”. Harvard Law Review 103 (5): 1105–1136. doi:10.2307/1341457
Samuelson, Pamela (1995). “Copyright’s fair use doctrine and digital data”. Publishing Research Quarterly 11 (1): 27–39. doi:10.1007/BF02680415