(To prevent any confusion, this article is discussing intellectual property and not the Internet Protocol. My apologies to the techBloggers. Also, a standard disclaimer – I’m not a lawyer, and nothing in this post or on this site should be construed as legal advice. If you have a legal question, seek out the representation of a competent attorney.)
Laws pertaining to copyrights, trademarks, and patents are collectively called intellectual property. Since a good portion of the GDP of the United States and many other industrialized countries consists of information development and exchange, it makes sense that there should be laws that protect information so that it remains a valuable commodity.
While I have absolutely nothing against IP laws in theory, I’m very concerned about how they have been, and will continue to be, abused by corporations with multi-million dollar legal budgets. These corporations have been attempting to increase the time that IP laws protect their creations while simultaneously limit the fair use of individuals, schools, and other groups to protected work. As a result, each day it seems less and less likely that protected works will ever enter the public domain.
Rather than bore you with a lot of legalese, I thought I’d link some of the examples of how the law is being abused today, right now: