Copyright: Ethics Assignment Paper Sample

Published: 2022-09-26
Copyright: Ethics Assignment Paper Sample
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Law Information technologies Ethics
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1433 words
12 min read

Copyrights continue to be vital in protecting creative work developed by different people. Copyright is a legal right that exists in various nations and its primary purpose is to give the original creator of a work the exclusive rights meaning that they can determine if their work can be used by others and in what conditions.6 Due complexity and diversification of creative work, copyright laws have faced criticism and many ethical issues especially in the cyberspace. In this digital age where downloading, streaming and uploading of original work is common, may ethical issues arise regarding how digital content can be protected. This paper will discuss how cybertechnology has impacted intellectual property, discuss giving explanations on whether it is ethical for The Walt Disney Company to lobby for an extension of copyright and finally provide an argument and counter-argument on ethics regarding the Brazilian government decided to ignore the patents on HIV medication.

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Impact of Cyber-Technology on Intellectual Property

As technology continues to advance, the definition of intellectual property continues to broaden. To understand how intellectual property is impacted by cybertechnology, it is essential to define several terms. According to Tavani7, cybertechnology denotes a wide range of communication and computing devices such as communication and technologies and networked, connected or stand-alone computers. Networked devices can be connected to private networks such as extensive range network or can be connected to the internet directly while communication and communication technologies include mainframe computers, personal computers, tablets, iPods and smartphones.7 Cyberethics, on the other hand, is a field that studies moral issues regarding information and computing technology.7 Intellectual property denotes the original creation of minds including but not limited to; artistic and literary works, inventions, designs and commercial images, names and symbols.6 Intellectual property allows people to earn from something they invent since law through various forms such as trademarks, copyright, protects it and patents.

The growth of cybertechnology has raised a lot of questions mainly related to whether it is some intellectual property and whether it deserves trademarks, trade secrets, patent, and copyright protection. The patent protection which legally protects individuals who come up with a particular process or an invention has been significantly influenced by cybertechnology where it has been broadening to offer protection to both computer hardware and software.7 Moreover, there have been many cases regarding patent being granted to software applications and computer programs owners with the most significant being the case of Diamond v. Deihr.7 Cybertechnology has led to the broadening of the intellectual property laws since it is essential to protect the ideas and innovations in the cyberspace.

The Walt Disney Company Lobbying for Copyright extension

In 1790, the United States introduced the first copyright law which majorly applied only to charts, maps and books but after several years passed, the bill was expanded to include audio recordings, computer programs, movies, and photography among others.7 Since 1790, the Copyright Act has been changing and more notably is how the duration of holding copyrights have been increasing. In 1928 when Walt Disney launched the Mickey Mouse cartoon, the existing copyright was the 1909 Copyright Act that gave the company only 56 years of protection meaning that they risked their content coming out to the public.6 However, through the influence of The Walt Disney, the Congress developed the "Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998" extending the terms of the existing copyrights by 20 more years.5 I do not feel it is ethical for The Walt Disney to lobby for the copyright years to be extended now that the 20 years are almost ending.

The request of The Walt Disney Company to extend copyright years is not ethical since it limits innovators and other creative minds from using old work to develop new and maybe better artistic works. For about 90 years now, The Walt Disney Company have rightfully held copyrights of various productions such as the Mickey Mouse, but they have not benefited any other artist since there is no access to these content.

Brett Gaylor when discussing the changing concept of copyright in his "open-source documentary film" claims the process of creativity is much important as compared to how products are to the original producers.3 He also argues that the products that consumers receive are more important to them than the process and it is now possible for consumers to become producers. I agree with Brett statements since extending copyrights for companies The Walt Disney can lock down the culture of creativity and advancement. Moreover, the utilitarian theory which claims that "property rights are granted to individuals and corporations because they result in greater overall social utility" can also support this argument (Tavani, 7 p. 217). Though individuals are given a chance to have total rights on the products they produce, it is essential to consider how the social benefits and if the giving the copyrights is something that will help preserve the culture of the country. Therefore, it is not ethically right for The Walt Disney to lobby for an extension of the copyrights laws.

Brazilian Government Decision to Ignore Patents on HIV Medication

The decision by Brazil to start manufacturing its own HIV and AIDS drugs meant that it had broken the patent with original company that used to distribute the drugs.2 This was received with a lot of criticism while others thought it was the best decision. Brazil had an international patent with a giant pharmaceutical company, but it opted to make its own HIV drugs. One of the ethical ground that Brazil used is that it is not right to depend on another country when controlling disease with such a high prevalence. A sovereign state should be able to protect and take care of its citizens. Brazil had a duty to provide better services to its citizens. The theory that can be applied in this situation is the consequence-based ethical theory which claims the primary goal of any moral system is to come up with the most suitable outcomes or consequences for its members.7 The Brazilian government was therefore right to choose the most suitable way to give better results for the citizens living with HIV. The government had to decide whether to continue buying the imported drugs whose cost was too high making it hard for the underprivileged patients to get this critical medicine or find an alternative that will bring relive and happiness for the society.

Another theory that could apply in the case Brazil is the duty-based ethical theory that argues that morality should be based on the concept of obligations or duty that human being has to each other and should disregard the consequences of the human actions.7 The Brazilian government had a duty to serve the people who elected them and hence they had to make a decision that would benefit the people they work for.The decision by the Brazilian to ignore the patent on HIV medication was morally wrong. The decision was bad faith since there was already an existing law that gave Merck pharmaceuticals the right to manufacture and distribute the HIV medicine. Moreover, this decision was also a threat to international laws regarding usage of patents since other nations could follow suit. The vice president of Merck the pharmaceutical that had its patent broken claimed that this action would have chilling effect on the long-term since many companies will not be willing to support research in most developing nations.4 The contract-based theory calls for individuals or parties to have the highest level of morality when they enter into any deal since.7 The Brazilian government does not seem to respect the spirit of the patent or the original agreement.

Cited References

Day M. Threat to break patents saves Brazil $1bn in the cost of HIV treatment. BMJ. 2007;335(7629). doi:10.1136/bmj.39402.515706.db

Faiola A. Brazil To Ignore Patent on AIDS Drug. The Washington Post. 2001 Aug 23 [accessed 2018 Nov 8].

Gaylor Brett. RIP Remix Manifesto, National Film Board of Canada [online] 2013. Available from: Accessed 2018 Nov 8.

Jack A, Lapper R. Brazil overrides Merck patent on HIV drug. Financial Times. 2007 May 4 [accessed 2018 Nov 8].

Schlackman S. How Mickey Mouse Keeps Changing Copyright Law. Art Law Journal. 2018 Aug 29 [accessed 2018 Nov 8].

Smith R. Crime in the Digital Age: Controlling Telecommunications and Cyberspace Illegalities. Routledge; 2018.

Tavani HT. Ethics and technology: controversies, questions, and strategies for ethical computing. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.; 2016.

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