Intellectual Property Laws & the Internet

The growth of the Internet has put pressure on traditional intellectual property protections such as copyright and patent. Some forms of information, when made accessible on the Internet, are easily copied. Because the costs of copying are low and because copying is often anonymous, publishers have often responded with more aggressive enforcement of existing intellectual property rights and with calls for extensions of those rights to cover additional content, new media and new forms of access.

Copyright Issues Related to the Internet
The technology of the Internet provides a new medium for dissemination of information, and this new medium presents numerous challenges to traditional norms of copyright law. Most fundamentally, the Internet provides a means of nearly effortless and essentially perfect duplication and dissemination of works such as texts, pictures, audio-visual material, and other authorship for which copyright law provides certain exclusive rights to owners.

Trademark and Related Issues
Businesses and other organizations are accessible to one another over the Internet by particular World Wide Web addresses, known as “domain” names. Because of the unstructured nature of the Internet and particularly the Web, users often locate organizations by searching for domain names that correspond to the organization’s name. Not surprisingly, numerous disputes have arisen where companies with similar names, or manufacturing the same types of products, have wanted to adopt similar or identical domain names.

Patent Law and the Internet
Unlike the copyright and trademark issues brought to the fore by the rising popularity of the Internet, fundamental patent law norms are not subject to challenge by the Internet. The Internet’s popularity has spawned tremendous interest in certain patents related to enabling technology for the Internet. The growth of the Internet has provided certain new tools for patent research and analysis that were not previously available.

Trade Secret Law Developments
The law of trade secrets continues to have strong application in Internet-related industries, but the very nature of the Internet makes maintenance of trade secret information inherently difficult. Since information can be disseminated over the Internet almost effortlessly, once information finds its way onto the Internet it will be extremely difficult to claim trade secrecy for such information.

In conclusion
Different treaties have provided different levels of protection or address only specific limited issues in countries around the world. In some countries, the signing of the treaty is sufficient to give direct effect to the protections, which can then be relied on by nationals of other states. The internet so far lacks the infrastructure to fully secure ones’ intellectual property rights.
Q. Who would police the implementation of intellectual property laws worldwide?
Q. Which nation’s law will take precedence over the other in case of infringements?
Q. Why doesn’t UN create a global infrastructure to combat the issue?
Q. What are the qualifications for protection?
Q. What are the possible limitations on rights?
Q. What steps can individuals take to protect their creation?
Q. What technological advancements have been made to identify and block copied content of various media?

What is your view on the benefits of such legal procedures and what is the gain to the business community in general? Please share your comments.


Pakistan Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008

The President of Pakistan, has Issued a declaration, which makes internet crime liable to be punished with death or imprisonment for life, with huge fines.

Cyber Crime Law

Cyber Crime Law

The law states that, any person who commits “cyber terrorism” and causes death of any individual shall be punishable with death or imprisonment for life and will be fined up to Rs 10 million under the deterrence of Electronic Crimes Ordinance, 2008.

According to the law, It shall apply to every person who commits “cyber terrorism” if hr/she access a computer, electronic system or an electronic device with a view to engage in a “terroristic act”,  irrespective of his nationality or citizenship whatsoever or in any place outside or inside Pakistan, having harmful effect on the security of Pakistan, its nationals, national harmony, any property, any electronic system, any data located in Pakistan, any electronic system or data capable of being connected, sent to, used by or with any electronic system in Pakistan, will be liable for punishment under the ordinance.

The law defines a terroristic act as an effort to “alarm, terrify, upset, harm, damage or carry out an act of violence” against citizens or the government.

According to the law, “Cyber crime” includes elements and activities like, “Thievery or copying” part or whole of information which is classified or any data/information required for making biological, chemical or nuclear weapon.

The law also highlights certain number of durations of imprisonment and penalties for other crimes, such as cyber fraud, stalking and spamming.

The federal government will institute a dedicated investigation and prosecution cell within Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to investigate and impeach the offences under the Ordinance. Afterwards, an Information and Communication Technologies Tribunal (ICTT) will be established under the ordinance through a gazette announcement to assume cases pertaining to the above mentioned offences.
The federal government may combine forces with any foreign government, Interpol or any other international agency with whom it has mutual arrangement for investigation or dealings against the offences related to electronic system data, for collection of evidence in electronic form of an offence along-with interception of data.

Any person, group or organization, which uses computer network for broadcast of electronic data having terrorist objectives, will be held accountable for cyber terrorism. The ordinance also reveal that any one who deliberately causes any electronic system or electronic device to carry out any function for the rationale of gaining unauthorized access to any data held in any electronic system or electronic device or on obtaining such unauthorized access shall be punished with imprisonment of either explanation for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine or with both.

Whoever create a website, or sends an electronic message with a phony source proposed to be believed by the recipient or visitor or its electronic system to be a genuine source with plan to gain unauthorized access or obtain precious information which later can be used for any unlawful purposes commits the offence of spoofing.