Homework 4

  1. Should copyright, patent, and trademark laws survive in their current forms?

The duration for copyrights, patents, and trademarks should be changed to a shorter period. A problem that arises is finding the reasonable amount of time to allow. This is because certain creations take a longer time for realization of profits. Copyrights now last for life of the author plus 70 years due to the Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA).  Based on data from 2008, the average life expectancy for the United States is 78.4 (Google). Copyrights can possibly last for two generations based on the above data. The opportunities of developing new creations during the period are lost.

  1. Do you feel the existing laws are too rigid, too loose, or just about right?

Beside the long restriction mentioned in the latter paragraph, the existing laws are just about right. There are fair use laws in place, so that others can use the copyrighted work. Some examples include using the copyrighted work for reporting, teaching, and creating parody. The copyright laws do not stifle education. If there is a ridiculous patent, it could possibility go up to the Supreme Court where it will be dismissed like the Cereal patent mentioned in class. The long restriction does stifle new creations which branched from these copyrighted or patented creations. At the same time, it allows people to be more creative. If a copyrighted or patented creations is changed enough (creatively speaking), it will be allowed.

  1. Taking into consideration the viewpoints of the producers of intellectual property and the users of that property, what do you see as the ideal situation in terms of incentives, protection, freedom of usage, and methods of enforcement?

The Internet has created a new battlefield for the producers of intellectual property and the users of that property. The problem is more drastic because now pirated works are exact copies of the original. Back in the day, copies were of low quality which gave an incentive for people to buy the original copy. Nowadays artists include posters in their album to encourage purchases, but even then posters can be copied onto a high definition print. Artists should continue providing incentives for people that buy the actual copy.  They should work on strengthening their relationship with their fans to increase sales.

The Internet is global, it is impossible to enforce the laws of the United States in other countries such as Sweden, Netherlands, or Germany. These countries are the center of illegal pirating activities. There is a limit to how much enforcement there can be. Producers of intellectual property should take piracy cost of doing business and not waste more money suing everybody that they can. As the saying goes, Lady Gaga wouldn’t go poor because of piracy.  By creating anymore laws of enforcement, it will only stifle the new creations.