A number of people have resorted to infringing the works of others and reap where they have not sown, therefore the owner’s effort, time and expenses incurred go in vain.
Piracy and hacking have encroached industries throughout the world. When you mention the term ‘pirate the first thing that comes to your mind is Somali pirates. However, the deadliest pirates are those that kill the human intellectual development. You may be a pirate but live in denial of it. They include students who photocopy entire books, individuals who engage in film and music piracy and importers of fake products which are branded and sold as local products. This not only kills our industries and opportunities for job creation but also leads to unfair competition and poor standard goods. Today, drugs and foodstuff have been counterfeited to such a big extent. Consumer protection organization’s need and must move a notch higher to curbing this spiraling menace.
(iii) The emergence and evolution of complex information technology around the globe has brought about the challenge of data protection. No one is safe from hackers and pirates. This is because the world has become a ‘global village’ connected through the internet. It is this selfsame internet that hackers use via computers and phones to access other peoples’ or organizations’ private databases. The hackers use ‘reverse engineering’, to analyze and program these computers or phones to counter their defense software. Lawyers have been having challenges protecting these intellectual properties. Lack of moral standards and job scarcity has pushed many learned youths, especially from the I.T. sector, to be involved in illegal activities – the so called ‘get rich quick scams. They will hack into your computer, steal data and sell it to the highest bidder or hack into your account and wire funds.
(iv) Many products and technologies are being marketed and utilized simultaneously across the globe hence intellectual property has become vulnerable to violations leading to loss by the creators of the ideas.
(v) The infringement of intellectual properties has led to reduction in the pace of development in Kenya. This is because most of the affected innovators and inventors whose ideas have been leaked to social media and used freely feel demoralized. Our farmers and manufacturing industries are killed by the smuggling of fake and substandard products which are eventually sold at very low prices.
(vi) The dichotomy of the legal systems across borders has greatly affected protection of intellectual property rights as well as the growth of international trade.
(vii) Poor governance and corruption. This has seen institutions and leaders refusing to take responsibility and accountability for their failure to protect intellectual property infringements across the globe. Our leaders who are being emulated by many youths across the globe have set a bad example by being at the forefront of corrupt dealings. This has been spurred by extensive greed for wealth among our leaders.
(viii) Sabotage of the legal system. Lack of respect to the legal system has caused the uprising of questionable property rights and transfer of ownership rights. In some streets and bus stages, people are illegally vending products without permits. Some even vend fake drugs, yet they are not qualified physicians. The general society and our institutions have sabotaged the legal system and accepted such to be the norm.
(ix) Lack of awareness. There is low awareness of intellectual property rights among the majority of the population. Therefore, the perpetrators take advantage of this to manipulate the public and earn them stupendous wealth.
Everyday, we wake up to challenges that require creative genius to solve. These challenges present numerous opportunities for inventions and innovations. This is not to say that these are in short supply. But on the opposite side, exploiters, hackers and pirates have been perfecting their games therefore stifling creativity. Thus, there is growing need to enlighten the society on intellectual property rights so as to encourage respect for these rights and to deter violators.
Whether in business security or privacy of government, it is of paramount importance that we pick from where the great inventors left and push inventions and innovations to higher levels. Without past inventions, we would not be enjoying benefits of convenience, ease of doing things, faster information processing by computers, communicating via phones, better health, faster travel, cleaner energy sources and many other important utilities in our daily lives. Every business challenge brings about an opportunity to invent and innovate. The solutions to these challenges will shape our future and the society at large.
The human brain has unlimited power, the power to think and come up with unprecedented ideas that will add value and create abundant job opportunities for generations to come.
It is therefore important to ensure that creating, protecting and managing property becomes an important corporate activity just like other vital business ingredients.