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COMP 3715 Spring 05. Intellectual Property What is intellectual property? In fact, what is property? Should property be protected? If so, should intellectual.

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Presentation on theme: "COMP 3715 Spring 05. Intellectual Property What is intellectual property? In fact, what is property? Should property be protected? If so, should intellectual."— Presentation transcript:

1 COMP 3715 Spring 05

2 Intellectual Property What is intellectual property? In fact, what is property? Should property be protected? If so, should intellectual property be protected?

3 Property Complex legal notion Establish relationships between and among individuals, different sorts of objects, and the state. Property includes  Land  Tangible objects that people can own  Non-tangible objects?

4 Property Not in terms of items or things As a certain kind of relationship between individuals in reference to things. Three elements need to be considered: (i) an individual, X ; (ii) an object, Y; (iii) X's relation to other individuals (A, B, C, etc.) in reference to Y.

5 Property X (as the owner of property Y) can control Y relative to persons A, B, C, and so forth. If Harry owns a certain object (e.g. a Toshiba laptop computer), then Harry can control who has access to that object and how it is used.  e.g., Harry has the right to exclude Sally from using the laptop computer; or he could grant her unlimited access to that computer.

6 Property Should property be protected? More fundamentally, should people by allowed to own “things”? Is there a limit on what kind of things can be owned?

7 Property Theory Three theory of property  Labor Theory  Utilitarian Theory  Personality Theory

8 Property Theory – Labor Theory Introduced by John Locke (17 th century). According to the labor theory, a person is entitled to the results of his or her labor. In this scheme, property is justified because of the “sweat of the brow.” Property right = natural right

9 Property Theory – Labor Theory Example:  ABC company build a database software  80 employees, working 60 hours a week  XYZ company sue ABC of copyright infringement, claiming that ABC copied a feature used in the product of XYZ company  ABC objects Feature is not original ABC spends so much time and money on the product, that it should be able to reap the benefits

10 Criticisms of Labor Theory Assumes a property right is a natural right. Applies only to people who “own their bodies,” ruling out slaves and indigent peoples such as Native Americans. Intellectual works don’t always require the same kind of onerous labor.

11 Property theory – utilitarian theory Property is not a natural right; rather it is a conventional right granted by governments. Property rights should be granted because they provides an incentive to bring ideas into the marketplace (i.e. has social utility) Reasoning used by framers of the US Constitution.

12 Property theory – utilitarian theory Example  Sam develop a new idea to store and search CDs on computer much faster  His friends are fascinated  Sam is not motivated  However, his friend tell him that he can apply for a patent and get $$$ for his product  Sam starts to work…

13 Criticisms of the Utilitarian Theory of Property This theory seems to assume that there must be an economic incentive to produce creative works. Utilitarian theory in general favors the greatest number of persons at the expense of minority affected by a social policy.

14 Personality theory Traced back to Hegel (19 th century). In this theory, property rights are not tied to labor or to economic incentives. Instead, property rights should be granted because of the personality of the author invested in the creative work, regardless of economic considerations. The author should have the final say on how things should be used

15 Personality theory Example  Angela developed a programming tool call B++  It works!  Angela submitted it to a prestigious journal called Cybertechology  The submission got published. But the publishing company own the rights to the article (Angela can get royalties though)  Publishing house permit some textbook to use excerpts of the article  Angela is furious, as the excerpts fails to convey her ideas  Who’s right?

16 Criticism of Personality Theory Assumes that property rights are natural or moral rights. Ignores the role of economic incentives. Ignores the role of labor. Ignores the fact that some author might not have invested her “true” personality in some creative work, such as a deliberate attempt to deceive someone.

17 Intellectual properties The expression intellectual objects refers to various forms of intellectual property. Intellectual property consists of “objects” that are not tangible. Non-tangible or "intellectual" objects represent creative works and inventions, which are the manifestations or expressions of ideas.

18 Intellectual vs. Tangible Objects Tangible objects are exclusionary in nature, intellectual objects (e.g., such as software programs) are non-exclusionary. If Harry owns a laptop computer (a physical object), then Sally cannot, and vice versa. If Sally makes a copy of a word-processing program (that resides in Harry's computer), then both Sally and Harry can possess copies of the same word- processing program.

19 Intellectual vs. Tangible Objects (continued) The sense of scarcity that applies to physical objects, which often causes competition and rivalry, need not exist for intellectual objects. Intellectual objects can be easily reproduced. There are practical limitations to the number of physical objects one can own.  e.g., there are natural (and political limitations) to the amount of land that can be owned. Countless copies of a software program can be produced – each at a relatively low cost.

20 Intellectual vs. Tangible Objects (continued) Another distinguishing feature has to do with what exactly it is that one can legally claim to have ownership over. Legally, one cannot own an idea in the same sense that one can own a physical object. Governments generally are not willing to grant ownership rights to individuals. Legal protection is given only to the tangible expression of an idea that is creative or original.

21 Ideas vs. Expressions of Ideas If an idea is literary or artistic in nature, it must be expressed (or "fixed") in some tangible medium in order to be protected.  A “tangible medium” could be a physical book or a sheet of paper containing a musical score. If the idea is functional in nature, such as an invention, it must be expressed in terms of a machine or a process. Authors are granted copyright protections for expressions of their literary ideas, inventors are given patent protection for inventions.

22 Why Protect Intellectual Objects? One answer to this question is that our current laws say that it should. We could then further ask on what philosophical grounds are our laws themselves based? In the Anglo-American law, the philosophical justification for property rights is grounded in two different types of views about property: natural rights, and constructed rights.

23 Protecting Intellectual Objects (continued) One theory holds that a property right is a type of "natural right," which should be granted to individuals for the products that result from the labor expended in producing an artistic work or a practical invention. Another theory is based on the notion that property rights are social constructs designed to encourage creators and inventors to bring forth their artistic works and inventions into the marketplace.

24 Software as Intellectual Property Should computer programs be eligible for patent protection? Should they be protected by copyright law? Do they deserves both, or perhaps neither, kind of protection? Computer software consist of lines of programming code (or codified thought). It is not exactly expressed or "fixed" in a tangible medium in a way that literary works are.

25 Software as Intellectual Property (continued) A program's source code consists of symbols. Its object code is made up of "executable images" that run on the computer's hardware after they have been converted from the original source code. Initially, it was not clear, at least initially, that software programs should be granted copyright protection. Some argues that computer programs are more like inventions that could be patented.

26 Software as Intellectual Property (continued) Software programs resemble algorithms, which, like mathematical ideas or "mental steps," are not typically eligible for patent protection. So, initially, computer programs were eligible for neither copyright nor patent protection. Eventually, however, copyright protection was granted to software programs.

27 Copyright Protection Schemes Four schemes: Copyright law; Patents; Trademarks; Trade secrets.


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