Project #55469 - week 4 discussion board

Instructions: reply to the three different posts (Post1, Post 2, and Post 3) by saying if whether or not you agree with the post by discussing it. Also, you should cite in each reply for each post. Also, Please refer to which post you are responding to by writing ex. Reply for Post 1. Also, provide a hyperlink for each source. These reply posts can be short. The reply of each post should be between 200-350 words.

 

Post 1 by Samuel Hayabusa :

Created Question: Are there any situations in which piracy of music, movies, software, etc. can be considered morally acceptable?

Q. Are there any situations in which piracy of music, software, etc. can be considered morally acceptable?

Whether we want to acknowledge the issue or push it under the rug, online piracy of many types of media and software has been a concern for various industries. The Directors Guild of America has some sobering statistics concerning how online piracy of films has affected the industry, and just how common piracy has become; As just one example of how online piracy of film has had an effect on the industry, approximately 25 Billion dollars annually have been lost to United States based firms due to global piracy.

As many can attest to, it is incredibly easy these days to download a Peer-to-Peer network program, find a torrent file online for just about any piece of media or software, and download it without a second thought; while many of us are easily able to do this, it becomes relevant to ask ourselves if it is something that we, morally, should or shouldn't do. In the interest of transparency and the airing of any potential biases that I may have it should be known that I have made a personal decision not to engage in any form of what can be considered online piracy. While piracy as a whole has been considered an issue for the film industry and others like it, it still remains that the actual act of an individual downloading a movie or software is still a personal decision. This brings up the question of if there can ever be any circumstances where piracy is considered morally acceptable.

For instance, could it be considered morally acceptable to pirate a video game that a developer and publisher have given their blessings to pirate? As ridiculous as this particular situation may sound, it is actually a moral quandry that Australian citizens are going to have to examine soon. Recently, the upcoming video game "Hotline Miami 2" was refused classification from the ratings board in Australia due to its hyper-violent nature and thus, cannot be sold there; the publisher of the game said that Australians that would like to play the game should go ahead and pirate it. Within the specific context of Australians who have been given "permission" to pirate a game that they otherwise wouldn't be able to buy, the different ethical theories that we have been working with in this course yield mixed results. Kantianism would state that this would likely be morally acceptable because, applied universally (that is, to all Australian citizens) there are no contradictions if everyone decides to pirate the game. Utilitarianism could go either way, either it would be morally acceptable because the net utility for people downloading a game to enjoy for free would be positive, but if the fact that pirating a video game is still considered illegal is used, the net utility could certainly be negative (associated costs of incrimination for those that pirate the game and legal fees). Social Contract Theory would say that the action is morally acceptable because the developers and publisher of the game have agreed to allow Australians to pirate the game, thus no breach in any reciprical agreement between members of society. Lastly, Virtue Ethics would most likely say that the action is morally unacceptable because, if piracy is viewed in the same light as thievery (which is debatable in itself), a virtuous individual would not engage in theft.

This is just one example within, potentially, hundreds more. The issues surrounding piracy of media and software are certainly numerous and it can all be very confusing to know what is right and what is wrong. Regardless of whether a person believes that piracy is acceptable under some conditions, all conditions, or no conditions, the actual act of pirating is still an individual action. As piracy is an action that an individual performs, I believe it is becoming more important for people in this online world to consider for themselves whether piracy is something that is morally acceptable or not.

What do the rest of you think? Are there any situations where you feel that piracy can be considered morally acceptable?

 

Post 2 by Katherine Elkins: How present is intellectual property/copyrights when pertaining to replication of designs, artwork, or ideas?

 

Intellectual Property is a product that someone has put commercial value on (Ethics for the Information Age). Protecting something created has many benefits. Art, music, books, etc. evolve everyday. There is always something new to hear, read, or see. With so many inventions and creative works, it can be hard to keep track of who made what. For example, within my graphic design schooling I have come across many replications of posters, modification posters, or posters with the same general idea. Does this mean that the artist copied the original work or idea? I believe this is where it gets confusing. Creators have control over the distribution of their properties, use of the properties is more expensive, and the creators are rewards (Ethics for the Information Age). Therefore, if one is replicating a piece of art the original artist will ultimately be rewarded.

Intellectual Property Licensing for Media Replication states that because of the Internet and other technological developments, there are many creative ways in which individuals can easily infringe on another’s intellectual property rights when creating their own works, sometimes without even being aware of the infringement. With so many creative outlets such as Tumblr, Flicker, or Pinterest, creative ideas and thoughts are being circulated.

 According to the article, Designers Tackle Copyright and Intellectual Property Issues, it is stated that it is hard to protect a single idea or concept because it can be used in dozens of different formats. Furthermore, the same power and accessibility that the web gives to violators can be used to unmask and pursue infringements.

 Associated Institute for Graphic Artists (AIGA) has a forum based on “work for hire” graphic designers. If one is freelancing can they still protect their work? The answer is yes. Although some freelance designers may overlook copyrighting designs it is very important to take ownership. AIGA states that under copyright law, an independent contractor (freelancer) is able to control how he transfers ownership. As a graphic designer, one should be careful as to whom they choose as their clients. Some clients will try to limit the designer’s rights because of concern that competitors will seek to use the same look (AIGA). 

 

Post 3 byJing Guang Sia : Made Up Question: Discuss the impacts of genericized trademarks on companies that have proprietary rights to them. What can be done to reduce any of the consequences?

 

A trademark is an easily recognizable sign or expression used to distinguish a product from third party sources. However, trademarks carry the risk of being genericized. This could happen in two ways. This often happens if the trademark proprietors did not use their trademarks properly. Genericized trademarks can translate to thorny consequences and missed opportunities for businesses.

Inadequate protection of trademarks can easily undermine them. Use It Right or Lose It shows how terms like escalator and thermos used to be indicators for particular sources of moving stairs and insulated food container. However, they are now common terms to describe all three products. Once upon a time, Bayer Chemical Company have the rights to the name Aspirin for a specific brand of painkillers they produce. But because of inadequate protection of its trademark, nowadays the term aspirin is used as a general term for pain relieving chemical compounds. Bayer squandered its opportunity to demand royalties for its rivals using the trademark. Not only that, they gave up an iconic symbol that could have cemented their position as a top player in the painkiller market. Genericizing of trademarks can cost businesses revenues and market dominance.

The App Store controversy is a recent example of trademark mishandling. Digital distribution platforms have existed for a while. But Apple Inc is the first company that officially used the App Store trademark for its iOS devices. Yet the app store now is used as a general term for digital distribution platforms for mobile devices. In layman’s terms, app store could refer to iOS’s App Store, Windows Store, Google Play or even the Amazon Appstore. This has lead to numerous legal skirmishes amongst these tech corporations. One instance of these battles happened in Australia. Apple sued Amazon for using the trademark in 2011, and in 2014, an Australian court dismisses Apple’s appeal for App Store to be trademarked. As a result, Apple Inc not only loses their rights to App Store, they also have to pay the resulting legal cost. This further perpetuates Apple’s negative stereotypes of being overly controlling. Had Apple’s legal team took the measures to secure the trademark, these legal battles could have been avoided.

With the right promotion and usage, companies can reduce the risk of their products being genericized. Using the trademark as a verb instead of a noun reminds consumers that the trademark represents only the particular product. The above article shows an example: instead of Xeroxing copies, one should make a copy with the Xerox printer. A safer way is to register the trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office, so that competitors do not have rights to use the trademarks. Hence, companies must consciously ensure that their trademarks do not become a double edged sword.

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Due By (Pacific Time) 02/01/2015 07:00 am
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