Influence of Digital Community in the Intellectual Property Law

Sushanth IT Law Associates

Today there is nothing that is not digital ranging from information to leading a digital life. Internet has bridged the gap and has been successful in bringing the digital community on a single platform. The digital community is constantly evolving and influencing the Intellectual Property Laws and is bringing on the table various Intellectual Property related legal issues. This article intents to showcase some of them.
Information available on the internet
Lots of information are available on the internet and can be accessed by a click of a button. Considering the nature of internet, it is a challenge to distinguish between free information and copyrighted information. Often, this free flow of information raises various intellectual property related legal issues including copyright issues.
Privacy vs. Piracy
Most of the people live a digital life today making use of various social networking sites and platforms. Many a time people post lot of information, images, videos etc on the myth that such posts are private. There are various policies governing the privacy in the digital community. However, most of these platforms do not have effective measures to curb piracy thereby posing challenges to the rights of the intellectual property owners.
“# Hashtag”
Large number of digital communities enable you to create “#Hashtag” under any name. However, these “#Hashtags” pose various trademark related issues like passing off, trademark dilution to name a few. The very nature of these “#Hashtags” raises legal challenges to the intellectual property laws.
These are the favourite 3 keys of any user in the digital community. They denote cut, copy and paste. Given the easiness in the option to use these 3 keys raise number of intellectual property related legal issues including copying information, pictures, content, available in the digital community without seeking the approval and authorisation from the owners of the intellectual property.
Pirated Policies
The internet law mandates that any platform, website, application operating in the digital community have policies like privacy policy, terms of use, user agreements etc. However, the policies made available on large number of platforms, websites, applications are pirated. In order to comply with one law people are violating another law. However, many people are unaware that these policies form a part of intellectual property and are protected by the copyright laws.
Movie/Game, Images /Scenes with funny comments
With the flexibility made availability in the digital community lot of times the screen shots from various movies scenes or games are often used as a piece of joke by adding funny captions or quotations thereof.  However, the same also gives rise to intellectual property related legal issues including copyright issues, trademark issues etc.
Patent Protection in digital community-a challenge in India?
A lot of innovation takes place in the digital community daily. However, protecting technology related innovations is the biggest challenge in India, particularly seeking a patent for software related innovation. Software innovations in the digital community pose lots of challenges to the intellectual property laws in India, specifically the Indian Patent Law.
Music, Video, Image Piracy
Considering the accessibility and the nature of the digital community lots of information including music, video and images are easily available across the digital community. A lot of intellectual property related legal challenges are been encountered, given the easy access to the digital community.
Design Piracy
Such issues include usage of designs across the digital community without seeking proper licenses, permission and authorisation from the owner of the design.
Game Piracy
With the increase use of mobility, a lot of mobile applications are hitting the app and play store every minute. Primarily a lot of fake and pirated gaming apps are made available across various platforms in the digital community leading to copyright, trademark and other intellectual property related legal issues.
To conclude, the digital community is creating ripples in the intellectual property law. However, given the innovations and the legal issues arising out of the digital community, the intellectual property law needs to be revisited and more amendments need to come in and effectively implemented as time passes by. Therefore, the intellectual property law needs to evolve in a manner striking a balance between protecting innovations and handling various legal hassles arising out of the influence of digital community.
About the Author
Mr. Sai Sushanth is a Cyber Law Expert and Techno Legal Consultant. He is the CEO of Sushanth IT Law Associates, a full service cyber laws consulting firm in Hyderabad. His niche areas of practice include Technology Laws, Intellectual Property Laws, International Cyber Laws, Corporate Law to name a few. He has published articles in various International and National Journals on various technology related legal matters. He is one among the 45 Cyber Law Auditors in India. He is an avid speaker and has addressed many International and National Conferences.

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