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Understanding Intellectual Property Rights in Today’s Technological Age

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Published: 15th of April, 2024 by Patrick Carpen.

Last updated: April 15, 2024 at 18:34 pm

What is intellectual property rights? Intellectual property rights is the rights of a creator to exclusively use a creative work. Copyright is a form of intellectual property rights which protect written material. There is also intellectual property rights that cover other forms of creatives such as photos and videos.

Because there are limited laws in Guyana which cover Intellectual property, protection of intellectual property is difficult to enforce in Guyana. However, publishers should use their conscience and discretion when using the original creative works of others.

Digital technology has changed the game dramatically where it comes to intellectual property rights. The proliferation of mobile phone cameras has obliterated the need for intellectual property rights of photos. Nowadays, there are more photographers who would thank you for posting their photos than try to sell their photos to you. Free photo sharing websites are blooming while stock photos websites are dying.

The same goes for videos. Tiktokers for example are happy when their videos are shared across different social platforms since it drives more traffic back to them.

Indeed, digital technology and social media has dramatically changed the game where Intellectual property rights are concerned, and has made it extremely hard to enforce. Still, persons need to be ethical when using the creative works of others. Try to get permission from the creator before using their work unless it’s evident that using it will be beneficial to the creator, they would be happy if you post it, or the material is clearly for public use.

When using the creative works of others, assign credit to the creator stating their name clearly where required. Using expressions like “all credits to the photographer” without actually stating the name of the photographer is very disrespectful and total bullshit.

Why I Decided to Write this Article

I decided to write this article because I was falsely accused by one particular individual of “stealing people’s photos.” This truly hurt, because as a professional writer from a very young age, I understand the importance of respecting people’s creative works. In the year 2019, I made a costly tour across almost all ten regions of Guyana taking photos and videos and used them to help build a follower base for the Guyana, South America Facebook Page. I was lauded by many people in and out of Guyana for the beautiful photos I took and the way I captured scenery across Guyana. One of my former students wrote me to tell me personally that my photos are “like a professional photographer.” At one point during this 2019 tour, the Guyana Government’s Department of Public Information “stole” one of my photos of the newly built East Bank of Demerara Road and posted it without even giving credit. They later did after I insisted.

There are social media pages that I know of that have indiscriminately used people’s creative works from different parts of the web to grow an audience and, fortunately or unfortunately, have grown a huge following base with these underhanded and unethical tactics. And it’s sad and disturbing that someone like me, who could have done the same, but chose to maintain a high moral and ethical standard of respecting people’s creative works, would be accused of such things.

Nowadays, with printed paper books slowly being phased out by digital material, with AI technology proliferating a wide variety of media, and with new forms of media constantly being born, it’s difficult to trace the original source of a meme or photo because they are being shared by hundreds of social media pages and groups.

Nevertheless, I always try my best to adhere to the highest standards when it comes to people’s intellectual property, because, as my late uncle, David Lacey, asked me one time, “how would you feel if someone wrote a book called “Alice’s Lost Rabbit” with the same storyline and concept as your children’s book, “Angela’s Lost Turtle“?

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