NEWS

Intellectual Property Rights Advocates Running Amok?

Sherry Harowitz

Open Source Software (OSS) is software developed collaboratively by people willing to share the code free of charge. The owners of the code do not object to its use, but some groups want use of OSS treated as if it were piracy because they say it creates a mind-set that might lead to intellectual property theft. To quote the Guardian's Technology Blog: What?

Basically, the International Intellectual Property Alliance, a group including the MPAA and RIAA, has asked  the U.S. Trade Representative to consider putting countries like Indonesia, Brazil and India on a list of countries that have inadequate intellectual property protection laws because they encourage their own government agencies to use open source software, according to the blog, which adds, "If you're looking at this agog, you should be. It's ludicrous."

Intellectual property protection is important. Attempts to stretch its reach beyond reasonable limits will, however, likely weaken public support for the concept, ultimately undermining legitimate intellectual property rights.

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