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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Encouraging Trade and Fighting Intellectual Property Theft

Intellectual property theft, hacking and lack of regard for other ideas is becoming a concern. Even more alarming is the amount of theft that occurs across international borders as some nations have developed cultures of stealing where the rights of the producers are not respected. Precisely why some countries, and the companies within, engage in intentional acts of intellectual theft is discussed in Trade Liberalization, Corruption and Software Piracy published in the Journal of Business Ethics.

Culture of Corruption:
Cultures that have more corrupt governments also engage in more theft. They have little oversight and lack a healthy respect for the rights of their citizens as well as the rights of those from other countries. Within develops a culture of corruption where theft is part of everyday business and there are few ethical qualms about it.

Economic Freedom:
Countries that have more restrictions on economic activities also have more corruption. Free trade countries seem to have less corruption while those that have more governmental barriers to movement of goods and money have more. Part of the reason could be associated with a lack of competitiveness within isolated nations.

Countries can be highly innovative by seeking new solutions and products to compete within the global economy. Some countries may suffer from a lack of competitiveness and therefore seek to copy others work as a cheaper alternative to making money. When new products hit the market, they are willing to steal their information in an effort to create profits.

This makes trade more difficult when international intellectual rights and laws are not appreciated. Most international companies engage in a level of risk management that determines approximately how much of their products will be stolen. Ensuring copy write and intellectual protection guarantees and potential damage compensation when passing treaties is helpful in combating these activities. Another option is to shun and isolate high theft countries leaving their economies weaker until their government enforces international standards.

Robertson, C., Gilley, K., & Crittenden, W. (2008). Trade Liberalization, Corruption and Software Piracy. Journal of Business Ethics, 78 (4).

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