Monday, August 25, 2008

Copyright, plagarism, IPRs

According to the IBLCE(International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners), the purpose of IBCLCs tenet #25 on intellectual property rights was the need to prevent copyright infringement. Yet copyright laws are in place and vary from country to country. IBCLCs have copyright protections already without the need to acknowledge, respect, recognize, and understand IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights). So that reasoning does not make sense when looking at the legal picture around the world. Copyright (IPRS) does not protect writers from plagiarism (definition from Random House dictionary-"the appropriation or imitiation of the language, ideas, and thoughts of another author, and representation of them as one's original work.") Universities/schools frown upon plagiarism and a student or teacher can get into alot of trouble for plagiarism. But in a court of law in the US, plagiarism is not a crime. It is frowned upon, but one cannot bring someone to court for plagarism only for copyright violations. On the otherhand, copyright enfringement is against the law and punishable. Copyright enfringement effects mostly the publisher and not the author unless the author is the publisher. While anything written is considered copyrighted (even emails), in order to collect damages in a court of law one must have paid for the copyright. Thus copyright laws do not truly protect writers unless they have paid into the system. IPR lawyers are very expensive lawyers, even in the backwaters of Florida where I live, their hourly fee is higher than what I make working for 40 hours. As someone who has felt the sting of plagarism, seeing my long hours of research put up by others as their original work, I think copyright law does not touch the real problem. IPRs are a blessing for lawyers and courts...bringing in money and keeping people busy. They do not truly protect writers or inventors. They only protect the wealthy, well-educated people of society, keeping them in business. And keeping certain information away from the poor and undereducated. It is a system that has little reward for those with little power and/or money in society. So why are IBCLCs supportive of tenet #25?
Copyright 2008 Valerie W. McClain

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