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Call to increase awareness of intellectual property rights

by Prasad Krishna last modified Apr 02, 2011 10:47 AM
We need more knowledge on IPR itself, says IT Secretary

There is an imperative need to focus on intellectual property rights issues, provide more information to the public on what constitutes IPR and how to deal with violations, Information Technology secretary PWC Davidar said.

 “We need more knowledge on IPR itself. Very few people are aware of what IPR is and therefore unaware that they are violating someone's IPR, for instance, even when they copy for an essay,” Mr. Davidar said at the inaugural of the seminar on Access to Knowledge. It was organised by the Consumers Association of India and Consumers International, Kuala Lumpur in association with the Madras Library Association.

Assignments

Even when it came to assignments in schools, colleges and universities, sometimes Ph.D. theses as well, one hears of people borrowing from others' work, Mr. Davidar said.

This kind of thing was very tightly controlled in the West, where software was used to pick up plagiarism. However, that was not so strictly enforced in India, he added.

Debate

Mr. Davidar also highlighted the debate on IPR in areas such as environment or health where lives could be at stake.

 “When it comes to academics, you know clearly that you should not borrow without acknowledgement. It is not as simple in situations where a solution can save several lives or prevent destruction of property. Such technologies should be shared, without being safeguarded in the corporate domain by IPR,” he added.

R. Desikan, founder, CAI, provided a brief report on the activities of the organisation and stressed the need to increase awareness of consumer rights, and IPR. Pranesh Prakash, from Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, stressing the need to provide access to knowledge in the context of IPR, also hinted at the negative aspects that patents might have on consumers.

Knowledge economy

Former Chief Vigilance Commissioner N. Vittal said consumers were living in a knowledge economy.

Pointing to the example of Japan that worked backwards on creating their own process with an end product (already invented in the U.S.) in mind, he advised that India too should examine whether it could benefit from such reverse engineering.

“Knowledge only grows with distribution,” he added, alluding to the teaching of the Upanishads.

Read the original article in the Hindu

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