Debate on Open Source Software

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Intellectual Property Debate on Open Source Software


S. No. Titles Page Number
Introduction 5
Intellectual Property Dilemma 5
Copyright Protection 7
Patent Protection 9
Trademark Protection 10
Trade Secret 10
Conclusion 11

INTRODUCTION Digitalization has led to a movement towards redefinition of poverty: poverty no longer to be identified in terms of material deprivations but in access to information in cyberspace.[1] The first United Nations World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) has recognized the links between information technology and human rights. Drahos, a renounced philosopher of Intellectual Property, categorized ‘Information’ as primary goods, stating that, it may be perhaps most important primary goods when one consider its role in one’s life, the economy and the development of knowledge, culture and its impact on power in a society.[2] Access to knowledge advocates have proven remarkably creative and successful in recent years, not only in contesting the contours of intellectual property laws, but also in identifying weakness and failures in the regime of intellectual property, spaces where new regimes for generating and managing knowledge and knowledge good might evolve. The most prominent example in the arena of activism by access to knowledge advocates relates to the attempts at the World Intellectual Property Organization to introduce new multilateral agreements to defend the rights of the visually impaired and rebalance the current copyright regime.[3] INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DILEMMA Open source software is the paradigm shift in the field of Software development. Opposite to conventional and closed web resources, which emphasis on unrestricted accessibility to the source code of the program. Also unlikely proprietary software, open source software are not Solidarity or closed group task. It is an community based model developed through virtual interaction of communities. The open source development model is not subject to prejudice based on maturity, education or experience. Thus open source model allows larger groups to interact, and increases accessibility to many more resources, keeping transaction cost minimal. It is a misconception that open source program are placed in public domain; they are very much protected by intellectual property laws, but distributed under terms which instead of being restrictive promote access. This system of software invites programmers globally, to freely copy, share, and modify software. This way it challenges all established norms of intellectual property.[4] On another side, a primary concern is ensuring that people must at least have access to internet via free access points. Striking balance between ensuring the human right of access to information while determining appropriate legal limitations and prosecution for inappropriate use is a significant challenge.

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