April 26 is World Intellectual Property Day. May 7 I pick up my new Apple IPad on a trip back to the U.S. Although I am technologically challenged when it comes to understanding computers, I depend on them and love to use them, both for business, information, and entertainment. I am excited about the IPad and its possibilities — fast and easy web access, e-book reading, movies and music on the go, even simple word processing, spreadsheets and presentation software! And the iPad is just such a cool bit of industrial design!
But it would be little more than a pile of aluminum, glass, and plastic without the intellectual property employed to design it, produce it, and give it the content that makes it come alive. If we want future iPads and other tablets, notebooks, netbooks, desktops, 3-D films and televisions and the “Avitar,” music files, mobile phone applications, and other software of all kinds to flourish and ease and enrich our lives, we MUST protect the rights and yes, income, of the creative minds from which these innovations stem. Downloading intellectual property from the net or buying illegal copies of DVDs or CDs is not different than stealing a car or shoplifting in a department store — and in the end even more damaging.
Good citizens respect their neighbor’s car, home, and a department store’s shelves. Good citizens respect what flashes on the screen of an iPad.