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5 Challenges Inherent with Digital Intellectual Property

There is no denying that intellectual property (IP) law can be complicated. Even so, protecting your company’s name, logo and other unique creations is essential to your success.

digital intellectual property rightsThe digital age has led to new and challenging IP issues that any business that uses digital assets—such as software, websites, and much more—of which you should be fully aware. Below we have detailed five significant legal challenges inherent with digital intellectual property. Please consult with the attorneys at J. Muir & Associates to learn more.

1) WORLD Wide Web

One clear challenge with digital intellectual property rights is the fact that the internet is a worldwide service, hence the term World Wide Web.[1] When you create digital assets, they can be recreated and distributed in various countries all over the planet. Interpretations and statutes regarding IP law already varies from state to state within the US. Imagine the jurisdictional issues when you are considering the IP laws of every country in the world. What may be an illicit use of digital intellectual property in the United States may not be considered illegal in China. The World Wide Web creates a world of jurisdictional problems when it comes to digital intellectual property.

2) Ease of reproduction erodes natural barriers

Traditionally, intellectual property rights had several natural barriers in place that helped minimize infringement. Namely, reproducing physical intellectual property was both costly and difficult. The cost of illegally reprinting and distributing a copyrighted book may have been enough to convince would-be infringers to refrain from stealing the work. The continual illicit copying and sharing of a DVD would also likely result in a degradation of the product. Digital assets, however, can be infinitely, easily, and cheaply reproduced. The infringement of digital intellectual property is much easier than reproducing physical works.

3) Ease of distribution

Not only is it much easier to illegally reproduce digital intellectual property, it is also much easier to distribute it. Thousands of illegal copies of your digital IP can be sent around the world in the click of a button. And the proliferation of social media only adds to this issue. Social media is built around sharing, and it has grown to a point where it is nearly impossible to police the millions of infringed photos, videos, and more being distributed on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

4) Enforcement

Prior to the digital age, the enforcement of intellectual property law was already complex. Now, the potential for anonymity on the internet turns many digital IP infringers into ghosts. Additionally, the ease of reproduction and distribution of digital assets means you must contend with both commercial infringers as well as individuals—some of which may be purposefully proliferating stolen intellectual property, but even more of which are doing so simply out of ignorance. If you do discover unlicensed uses of your digital intellectual property, actually pursuing a claim may be incredibly difficult.  

5) IP law is not universally interpreted

IP law is one of the most fluid areas of the law that exists.[2] It is constantly changing and updating to try to keep up with new technology as well as case law and even industry-related compromises. Ask two different IP experts their thoughts on a particular topic and chances are you will get two very different interpretations. This is especially true for digital property. Digital IP law is still a nascent subset of IP law, and it is still trying to catch up to the new technology. When there are issues with your digital IP, it can be difficult to predict the outcome of your potential legal actions.

If your business relies on any form of digital assets or intellectual property, it is vital that you enlist the services of a cutting-edge IP attorney who is fully aware of the unique challenges and nuances inherent in digital IP law to help ensure your rights to that property are effectively protected and enforced. Contact the attorneys at the law office of Muir & Associates today if you would like to learn more about how to protect your intellectual property.

 

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