Before streaming media, people would own DVDs and CDs and this is how you would watch movies or listen to music. You owned your DVDs and you could watch them and lend them to anyone whenever you wished, just as long as you didn’t copy them or do anything illegal with them. But CDs and DVDs are disappearing. Now we listen to music on Spotify or Apple Music and watch movies and shows on Netflix, HBO, or Hulu. Most of these offer subscription plans, you sign up and pay a monthly fee, you then have access to the media on that platform. They also offer different deals depending on your situation. Most people like using these services but others aren’t so comfortable.

Some feel like they have lost control over the media they own or don’t own. On iTunes you could buy a song or album and listen to it through your devices, you can download the music and listen to it anywhere you want. But you don’t actually “own” the song. You used to own your CD, it was yours and that copy of the song was yours, but the song you are listening to on your phone doesn’t belong to you, even though you have paid to listen to it. Before music streaming you could lend your CD to a friend and they could then listen to the song, but you can’t do that anymore, you don’t have the right to distribute that music.

Music is an example of Intellectual Property. You could debate that intellectual property should not be required, that anyone could use any song or extract of a text anytime they wished to without issues rising from this such as the creator of such media claiming that their work had been copyrighted and misused. This would be a lot easier for everyone as we have a lot of media at our availability.

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But this wouldn’t work out so well. If anyone could use a songwriter’s song without asking permission and paying a required fee to use it, then this writer wouldn’t compose the song, or there would be no books, articles, or shows. If everything was out in the public domain for anyone to use and creators didn’t gain anything from their work, then these creators would stop creating their media.

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Licenses allow users to download and use creative media. If say, a school wanted to put on a play and showcase High School Musical, they would need to ask the Walt Disney Company for a license to be able to use their script. The school will most likely need to pay a fee and follow certain standards set by the Walt Disney Company. If the school didn’t follow these standards or if they found a pirate version of the script online and decided to use it without asking the Walt Disney Company for their permission, then the Walt Disney Company could sue them as this behavior would be considered to be illegal as they are not following copyright laws.

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In an article for TradeReady, Ewan Roy claims that protecting Intellectual Property is important but can be hard in some cases. If we don’t protect our ideas then they are out there for anyone to use and we don’t have evidence of it being our own since it hasn’t been protected. But Roy claims that protecting our ideas isn’t always successful. You aren’t always secure from pirates, counterfeiters, and other characters. These people aim to steal your ideas and media and use them for their own personal use or illegally distribute them for others to access illegally.

Roy also gives some shocking facts regarding the misuse of Intellectual Property in the information technology sector. Roy claims that according to the Business Software Alliance, 57% of the world’s PC users admit that they pirate software. These statistics came from computer users in 33 countries, suggesting that this is an act that is carried out worldwide. Although creativity media is protected, this doesn’t stop a high percentage of users from making some sort of illegal use with it.

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Many times this illegal activity comes when streaming video media or audio media. Although someone might have a subscription to Netflix, they will not have access to every show or movie that they wish to watch. This user will not want to subscribe to every streaming service because this will mean spending a lot of money and not everyone wants to do that. So instead of signing up to HBO, Hulu, and Prime, they will find some online streaming service in which they can watch that show they’ve been dying to watch. The quality might not be the best, and the screen might be flipped, but it will have to do.

More negatives are coming from this, not just the video quality but also the fact that these services might input some sort of virus into your device, or some inappropriate images might come up. You also don’t know where this media is coming from, who owns it, and usually aren’t aware of the possible consequences of your actions.

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Intellectual Property allows creators to come up with new ideas without worrying about them being stolen or illegally used. Without it, these creators would not find the motivation to come up with this media. Intellectual Property protects audio, video, text, medicine, and more. It can also be licensed to allow companies and individuals to use after paying a fee and following certain standards set by the creator. Intellectual Property laws also state that this creative media goes into the public domain where anyone can use it for free and freely 70 years after the death of the creator or when it comes to companies it tends to be between 95 and 120 years from creation or publication date.

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Without Intellectual Property, creators would stop creating media as they would get nothing out of it. Without getting a bit of money, (or a lot in some cases), or not even being recognized for it, there would be no motivation for creating this media as it could be passed off as anyone’s ideas. I believe that Intellectual Property is important, it is what helps make all those things we love watching, listening to, or observing. It gives us a creative side to life but also an educational one through articles, medicine, or books.


Here’s the original article by Ewan Roy


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