Public Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights

By Urbas, Gregor | Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, November 2000 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Public Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights


Urbas, Gregor, Trends & Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice


Gregor Urbas

In 1709 the first English copyright statute (the "Act of Anne") outlawed the unauthorised reproduction of literary works, and imposed monetary fines payable in equal share or "moeity" to the Crown and the copyright holder, along with compulsory forfeiture an d des true tion of infringing copi es . Th e di visi on of labour be tween public and private in the enforcement of intellectual property rights has become somewhat less well defined since, though a public role is clearly entailed by the inclusion of criminal infringement provisions in modern copyright and trademarks legislation. Part of the difficulty lies in the limited capacity of public law enforcement agencies to deal with all demands on their resources, along with a reluctance to intervene in what is often seen as private commercial disputation. Added to this are rapid changes in technology, which provide new opportunities both for the infringement of intellectual property rights and their protection.

This Trends and Issues paper assesses the role of public enforcement of intellectual property rights through the recent experience of Australian customs, police and prosecution agencies.

Adam Graycar

Director

Intellectual property has emerged over recent decades as an increasingly valued "capital asset", particularly in the transition to an information-based economy (Wineburg 1991, p. 1):

Intellectual property-patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets-has become recognised for what it is: a major capital asset. The success of many companies domiciled in many different countries depends increasingly on whether they can use the technology of their choice. Use of technology of choice is increasingly determined by who can claim legal rights to that intellectual property and by whether those rights are valid and enforceable.

Against this background the protection of intellectual property becomes a business imperative. Not surprisingly, many larger (multinational) enterprises and industry groups have chosen to defend their interests through commercial litigation (see, for example, the anti-piracy web sites of Microsoft, the Business Software Alliance, the Business Software Association of Australia, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry [IFPI], the International Intellectual Property Alliance and the Recording Industry Association of America). In Australia, smaller enterprises and individual traders have also been able to act collectively through a range of industry groups (see the web sites of the Australian Copyright Council, the Australasian Performing Right Association and Australian Mechanical Copyright Owners' Society, the Australian Record Industry Association, the Audio Visual Copyright Society and the Copyright Agency Limited). By contrast-and perhaps to some extent as a result-the role of traditional public law enforcement agencies in the protection of intellectual property has over recent years become subject to increasing uncertainty.

Technological Change

Part of the problem is undoubtedly the rapidly changing technological environment within which the information economy operates. There is inevitably a significant timelag between the emergence of new technologies enabling novel forms of breach of intellectual property rights and the consequent refinement of laws protecting those rights. The general relationship between law, technology and intellectual property rights has been described as follows (Lessig 1999, p. 124):

Strengthen the law, holding technology constant, and the right is stronger. Strengthen the technology, holding the law constant, and the right is weaker.

Of course, this is a simplification-for one thing, emerging technologies provide new opportunities not only for breach of intellectual property rights but also for their protection. A new industry of electronic security services has begun to emerge, offering technological solutions to such business risks by way of encryption, water-marking, secure payments systems, virtual private networking and so on (Fiorini 2000; Grabosky, Smith & Dempsey forthcoming).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Public Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.