Intellectual Property and all that jazz
IP is being created within the Pakistan IT industry as more companies are developing products and there is an ever-increasing number of idea entrepreneurs who are making their mark on the technology scene. Hence when I was invited to attend the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Roundtable which focused on Software Copyright, I felt it was important for P@SHA to be represented here in Kuala Lumpur.
It was good to hear the different perspectives of delegates from the region as they spoke about their industries, the legislation, enforcement and growth. I was happy to see that there was also a focus on Open Source. Several delegates from Malaysia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia felt that Open Source was the only viable option for countries in this region as the price of international software was just not in line with the purchasing ability of the regional economies.
What surprised me most were the stories from the Japanese speaker who was from the Association of Copyright for Computer Software (ACCS):
1. Apparently the software developer who developed Winny (a Japanese peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing program) – Isamu Kaneko, a research assistant in graduate course of computer engineering at the University of Tokyo in Japan – was arrested for suspected conspiracy to commit copyright violation by the High-tech Crime Taskforce of the Kyoto Prefectural Police. Kaneko originally anonymously announced his intent of developing the software on the Download Software board of the popular 2channel (2ch for short) Japanese bulletin board site.
Kaneko’s arrest caused an uproar in communities on the Internet citing it as an unjust arrest. A website set up to raise money for his defence raised over 11 million yen (about US$97,000) within two weeks. Kaneko was released on bail on June 1, 2004. More details on Wikipaedia.
2. The ACCS speaker also moaned and groaned about the sale of second hand computer games saying that it should be stopped because it impacts on the gaming industry and developers of games! I asked how this was different from the sale of second-hand books, clothes, bags, software, etc. Hadn’t there always been a separate market for second hand products? His answer surprised most of us. Apparently, because there is no degradation of computer games because they are on DVD unlike books which may have dog-eared pages and covers missing and clothes that are faded etc, computer games should be treated differently. The onward sale of the games by the first purchaser has negatively impacted the sales of the gaming industry in Japan by about one third. Amazing stuff!
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