What is intellectual property?
Photographer : George Lucchese
Intellectual property is the term given to any idea that is legally protected. The ‘idea’ can be anything intangible—a song, poem, movie, invention or theory, for example. Intellectual property is protected by copyrights, patents and trademarks.
The Napster case
Napster was the world’s first software that allowed users to share and download music and movies for free. It quickly became massively popular, and in 1999, Napster creator Shawn Fanning was sued by several record companies. Napster shut down in 2001, and restarted in 2002 as a subscriber-based network.
So, what’s wrong with downloading my favourite movies, TV series or music?
Every song you hear on the radio, movie you see in a cinema or show you watch on TV is protected by intellectual property. Music, movie and TV series downloading (or piracy, or file sharing, depending on how you look at it) is illegal according to Australian law. If you’re caught with any illegally downloaded files or software that can be used to download files, like Kazaa, Bearshare, Limewire or Morpheus, you can be fined up to $60,500 or spend up to five years in prison.
A statement from the big guys
The Australian Recording Industry Association has issued a statement regarding music downloading, stating that it injures many of the people involved in the music biz:
“Unauthorised uploading or copying is not free at all—it is the musicians and the people who invest in the music who are paying the price. The artists, first and foremost, the labels that have invested in them, the publishers who manage the copyright of their songs and the thousands of people involved in the many different areas of the music industry are all affected. Downloading and burning without permission doesn't fairly reward the efforts of those who create, develop and record music, and who depend on it for their livelihood.”
To see the entire statement, go to http://www.aria.com.au/pages/InternetFileSharing-T...
How do I know this?
Vives, L, ‘The pros and cons of downloading music’,IESE Business School http://www.iese.edu/en/files/6_8386.pdf
Australian Copyright Council, Infringement: actions, remedies, offences and penalties
Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia, Intellectual property http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intellectual_property
Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia, Napster http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napster