IP, Friend or Foe?

Intellectual property is an interesting topic especially when it comes to the digital age. I do believe that we should have copyright laws and people should have ownership and have credit for their ideas however I do believe that people should be able to take an idea and expand on it. I don’t agree with everything Adam said in the Case against IP video but I did like a few things he said.

Every new idea is the product of human innovators that have gone before us.

Preventing people from copying ideas prevents them from improving on them.

I could not agree more on these two statements!! So my argument is that people should not be able to copy something directly, but if they improve and change it slightly then go ahead.

I am going to use the example of classical sheet music. Growing up when I was learning a new violin concerto my teachers always emphasized the rules for copying music. Because you would have markings all over your music and you don’t want to mark up the original sheet music, you were able to make two working copies. Every week at lesson my teacher would use a different fine tip marker to mark mistakes so I knew what to work on. (It was never a good sign if the same mark was done in a rainbow of colors or turned black.) Only able to make those two copies was ingrained in my head at a young age so that might have something to do with it but I do think that people write and make music and should be paid for their hard work and for us to enjoy it.

Now when it comes to music teachers I bet this is a very tricky matter. Depending on your school and your budget, music is very expensive. MTNA Copyright Guidelines for Music Teachers has the long list of rules and violations and I can not imagined being a music teacher and keeping them all straight. For one thing I would never want to spend my budget on music and then give the originals to the students because you would never see them again. I always grew up being told that you could copy but once you were on stage playing with an audience you MUST be playing off the original. This was always a rule but at the end of they day who is really checking.

As tricky as it is I do believe that people should get credit for their work. Plus I don’t think anyone is going to pass off as writing Beethoven’s 5th symphony as their own so if you make a hit you probably don’t have to worry about someone copying it and taking credit but you might have to worry about it being downloaded illegally. (Open and enjoy listening as you continue reading.) If word press allowed I would have embed the sound file into the post so it played from the beginning but I think it is an add on to word press and would that be legal? If I originally purchased the music then I would say no plus he died 192 years ago so I think we are good.

I know that people download music and movies illegally every day and I think this should be wrong, however as a society it seems to be more and more acceptable. I have no idea how to do this because I don’t think we should so never tried. People work hard to make music and movies so they should get credit and get paid. But then again most people think they make so much money anyway, why does it matter. I will admit I have bought a few bootleg copies of movies in foreign countries, so I am guilty even though I think it is wrong.

Image result for intellectual property

With patents, trade secrets, and trademarks, I think people should first have rights to an idea and then people should be able to expand and grow. Like stated from Adam before, ” Every new idea is the product of human innovators that have gone before us.” and “Preventing people from copying ideas prevents them from improving on them” Now should people just be able to copy an idea and claim it as their own? I don’t think they should but people should be able to take and idea and make it better. It improves and makes products better so why not have a bit of competition. I worked for an aerospace engineering company for a few years and learned so much about intellectual property!! For starters I though I was going to start working and be expected to start designing from scratch. Multiple senior engineers told not to worry and were actually shocked that I though this. On every new design they start with the old product and design in the new requirements. After I learned this, it completely made sense and is so simple. Just like cell phones they didn’t start thin with all the fancy technology, the gradually changed over time are still changing and getting better with every new release. So all those new ideas are built into the old. Plus we have two cell phone companies, Apple and Samsung, that are fighting for the market and challenging each other with ideas…….I think. I am always a few phones behind.

I don’t think a company needs to release their trade secrets but if someone is able to back engineer it then I am not sure I am against that as long as they do it and then improve on it so that it is not exactly the same. I do think that people should get credit for their original work whether it is a company or an individual.

For every good company that has a trade mark I feel like there is another equal competitor. Coke verses Pepsi, FedEx versus UPS, Adidas versus Nike and all the car manufacturers. This creates for healthy competition and then gives consumers the chance to choose. Creating that perfect trademark is key in creating a business and I think it should be intellectual property that is protected. As a consumer I want to know what I am buying and what I don’t want to be buying plus I think a company should get credit for its product. And I want these companies to be competing and using the others information to make their product better, just not taking the original as their own.

So should be have intellectual properties? I think we should but with some stipulations. With the internet things have changed but we should all respect each other and give credit where it is due. We also need to expand and improve on ideas, again “every new idea is the product of human innovators that have gone before them”.

And for a little fun, throughout history there have always been “bootleggers”.

Where Does the Word “Bootlegger” Come From? Note: I copied this photo and then noticed the tile and instantly wanted to delete it but then noticed the caption form the original website. I decided to keep it and hope it doesn’t offend anyone. I also continued to read the comments from the page and found it interesting to read all the debate about where the term did actually come from and I thought it was fitting given this class.

Image result for bootlegger

3 Comments

  1. Abdulallah Arbabzadah said:

    I agree with your point that simply copying something should have restrictions, and also the fact that if you change and improve on something, then it should be good to go! What do think of fair use laws that allow for educational use of otherwise copyrighted works? Should it be expanded upon? We have an assignment in this collection about Fair Use so maybe after that assignment you could respond to my post!

    June 30, 2019
    Reply
    • admin said:

      I wont lie I have read many articles and am still trying to understand the fair use laws. There seems to be a lot of gray area. I guess looking back my post talks about fair use given that you should only make working copies when using a concerto. Teachers I think should be able to copy material I would be so expensive if they didn’t. They just can’t sell. Hopefully I will have more insight after I so my Fair use post.

      July 6, 2019
      Reply
  2. Sam Starr said:

    Maureen,
    After reading over your IP, Friend or Foe assignment I couldn’t help but draw connections to Nina’s. While you both look objectively at IP you both tend to lean away when it comes to implementation of patents and the decrease in competition that they create.
    https://ninafehrenbach.com/blog/uncategorized/ip-friend-or-foe/

    July 30, 2019
    Reply

Leave a Reply to Abdulallah Arbabzadah Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *