Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Failing Intellectual Property Protection 101: Character Education May Be the Key to Piracy Prevention

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Failing Intellectual Property Protection 101: Character Education May Be the Key to Piracy Prevention

Article excerpt

Behind every book there is an author; behind every music CD there are composers and musicians; and behind every software program there are developers and programmers. All are paid for their creative works--or at least they should be. Today's college students, however, are having trouble understanding the connection between the media they use and the people who create it, according to research commissioned by the Business Software Alliance (www.bsa.org/education; www.PlayItCyberSafe.com) and prepared by Ipsos Public Affairs.

The study, which looks at students' and educators' attitudes toward online downloading, file-sharing and copyright law, found that only 24% of 1,000 college students surveyed considered it wrong to make unauthorized copies of software, while 89% said they didn't always pay for the copyrighted software they downloaded. Yet, curiously, a resounding 93% of the students agreed that "people who develop software deserve to be rewarded for their efforts."

Not surprisingly, "saving money" was among the reasons students listed for obtaining unlicensed or pirated versions of a program. But students, and some faculty, extend that justification further. A significant percentage of both (88% of students and 54% of faculty) said they "strongly agree" that it doesn't make sense to charge hundreds of dollars per license for something they believe takes pennies to reproduce. The survey also reveals that 52% of students further supported the notion that the "tech industry is so prosperous, a few people using unlicensed software won't make a difference."

Of course, the reality is that it takes tens of millions of dollars in many cases to bring a popular software program to market. When those programs are distributed or downloaded illegally, publishers are unable to recoup their investment, which impacts employment and the development of new products. According to a state-by-state software piracy study commissioned for BSA, piracy cost more than 105,000 jobs, or $5.3 billion in lost wages, during 2002.

The economic impact is not the only cost of piracy, however, says Ethics Resource Center President Stuart Gilman, Ph.D., who works with many large multinational corporations that he says are concerned about what students may be leaving college with when they enter the workplace. …

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