The rising tide of intellectual property (IP) theft

They are all around us!

A lot of intellectual property is churned out on a daily basis around the world. Scholars, researchers, and talented individuals turn out volumes of materials or works believed to be original in nature and essence. The products of these special, passionate creations of the human intellect are, sometimes, genuine subconscious moves to establish links between the referent talents, society, and the users of the resultant property.

Access to IP

We all have access to the intellectual property of other people. Our libraries are replete with such property. Our radio stations boom with music composed and sung by others. We pick up music, other audios, and films on CDs. Pictures are everywhere – even, digital camera holds images made using it in its memory. Secretarial business centres also keep intellectual property developed using their services on their hardware – granting the (potential) opportunity to lay hands on this property to both intentional IP thieves and innocent users.

The Internet has also enhanced our access to original intellectual property and connectedness. Social networking sites and messaging apps have further made the intellectual property available to more people from different geographic locations and cultures. On top of these, there are downloadable movies, video clips, pictures, documents, audios, etc., just at the click of the mouse.

Intellectual property is simply everywhere. It has made and is making, life better for all of us.


However, it is saddening that plagiarism, piracy, and counterfeiting are taking their toll on the originality and integrity of our intellectual property. Even though a lot of progress has been made, trying to curb these 3 evils, these efforts have consisted largely of policing and punitive initiatives. Efforts at maintaining decent and lawful, active, ongoing intellectual property surveillance and protecting intellectual property rights of stakeholders have been scanty.

Curbing the menace

Integrated approaches to curbing the menace of intellectual property theft would consist of our traditional policing and punitive efforts, maintenance of active surveillance, capacity building, intellectual property education, proactive protection of intellectual property rights of stakeholders, inter-specialty collaborations and building legal advisory structures.


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