Online Intellectual Property Protection Lawyers
A major future challenge faced by online intellectual property protection lawyers, politicians and economists is property in the digital age. Digital media ownership is high priority for the stakeholders in the so called information age. Traditional intellectual property lawyers apply the law to the environment. Whereas with online intellectual property protection lawyers one must apply the environment to the law. In other words you should ask “how does the disruptive nature of the digital environment affect the existing rule of law, if at all?”
It is difficult to apply the rule of law to an environment you cannot control effectively. This challenge arises because of what digital does. Bits are the tiny elements which can either be (1) or (0), that can be used to construct images, music, text, audio and video. When we see a picture, or listen to a piece of music, the image we are seeing are a series of bits next to each other that give the illusion of an image; likewise music can be digitised using the pulse code modulation (PCM). Using PCM, it is possible to digitise all forms of analog data, including full-motion video, voices, music, telemetry, and virtual reality. Digital information is cheaper to store; distribute and with advances in technology will be of better quality than analog ever was. There has therefore been a transformational shift to digital and with that a paradigm shift in the media and technology (information) ecosystem.
Digital has a particularly disruptive effect on certain property rights in rem such as the monopolistic intellectual property rights. Copyrights for example is a property right that can be used to prevent inter alia, the distribution, copying, and performance of your work. Your work includes a photograph that you took or that was taken of you to which you have copyright through a licence or an assignment. In today’s digital world how to protect your copyright is a huge challenge. A typical scenario is the theft of an image from your website or from Twitter which is then unlawfully posted on a US website. As the website is based in the US, US laws apply.
In this scenario the person(s) who stole the image may not be US citizens and may be domiciled in England. Although US laws can adequately deal with the removal of the image under the DMCA, if the US website owner refuses to comply with the DMCA, it will still be expensive and time consuming to sue a recalcitrant website owner in the US that unlawfully refuses to take down an image or pay compensation for infringing content.
Online Intellectual Property Protection Lawyers – Conclusion
There are a growing number of rogue US websites that actively encourage copyright infringement, and appear to relish the idea of law suits. The writer has had a run in with at-least one of them. Such websites hide behind the difficulty of any simple effective legal remedy to address the evil behind the way they chose to operate. There is obviously a need for a simpler and more comprehensive international harmonisation of laws as well as the institutions for the enforcement of laws to deal with digital property.
Without such harmonisation a claimant’s only remedy to theft of its property may be to sue in another jurisdiction like the US whose laws may be less favourable, even where the miscreant is an English citizen, and has committed the wrongful act from England.
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