The continued growth of technology has brought many changes to the way things are done. In the search for quick and easy accessibility, mankind has created a new way to connect things in a so-called Web – Internet. The Internet, also known as cyberspace, is a place where everything is digitally encoded. Basic binary codes emerge from text, images, video, music, and other digital media that appear on the computer screen. Since the inception of the internet, many industries have started transacting through the web as it touches millions of people around the world. The information can be availed at a low cost or even not at all. Advertisements and digital media transactions can easily be done.
However, since everything is coded, replications are easily tampered with. Copies may be produced indiscriminately. Copies on digital media are perfect clones of the original, so it is difficult to distinguish which is the original and which is the copy. To protect original authors and regular consumers from the threat of web piracy, several laws such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act have been passed.
The DMCA serves as the intellectual property management regulations for digital media and other things traded on the Internet. This law implements two treaties concluded by the World Intellectual Property Organization, also known as WIPO. It penalizes the creation and distribution of technologies, gadgets, devices or services that seek to evade procedures such as digital rights management that regulate access to copyrighted works. It also prohibits preventing access control, whether or not there is a violation. The DMCA emphasizes penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.
Digital copyright laws encompass a wide range of people’s ingenuity. Much, if not all, of the unique content that powers e-commerce is under its protection. This covers literary creations and works of art which include different forms of writings like textbooks, teaching materials, articles, blogs, e-books and others. It also protects electronic products such as software, computer programs, music, images, videos, etc. Basically, this law is not only concerned with the rights of creators or producers. It also protects the rights of consumers who are victims of fraud. An innocent buyer may be tricked into purchasing pirated products which may eventually be restricted from access due to infringement. In such a case, the consumer will not be able to recover his money.
Internet users must know the laws on the management of intellectual property, whether producer or consumer, in order to protect themselves against infringements of intellectual property. Cyberspace is as vast as the universe and continues to expand. As users, we must be aware of the pros and cons of using it. It makes our lives faster and easier, but sometimes one wrong move can land us in hot waters if we don’t know what the law allows and prohibits.