The importance of intellectual property
The rapid growth in the information technology sector that we have experienced in the past decade has translated into much increased productivity at the workplace, translating into improvements in our lifestyles. The proliferation of information technology has permeated the lifestyles of many, making the personal computer an ubiquitous in most family homes. Software such as Microsoft Office allow for rapid organization and analysis of information, and has become indispensable in the modern office. This trend, however, is largely limited to those who can afford to purchase such copyrighted works; in many cases, such as in developing countries, a lack of the financial resources is the main reason why so many people in the world remain unable to reap the benefits that intellectual property brings along with it.
As someone from a middle-income background, purchasing essential software has never posed much of a problem. Hence, I am fortunate to have been able to reap the benefits that information technology provides, particularly that of the internet and its wealth of knowledge. Entertainment media, such as music and games, however, remain a luxury and rare treat.Back to top
Quite clearly, the benefits that intellectual property can bring to those who wield it well, along with the premium that software companies often charge for their product, is a strong impetus for the development of piracy syndicates, or other illegal distribution networks of copyrighted material. In spite of law enforcement efforts, consumers often underestimate the threat of being prosecuted over the illegal possession of such material.
Apart from law enforcement and education efforts, creators of copyrighted material need to realize that the incentive not to purchase original copies of copyrighted work will always remain if companies continue to charge a premium. Rather, I feel that prices should be low enough to entice consumers to switch from illegal sources, and instead charge premiums on extra services. A good example of such a service would be Microsoft’s XBox Live.