Intellectual Property and The World of Web

    Some years ago, countries of this planet decided to globalise with unprecedented pace but they were unaware of what was about to emerge from the pot of destiny. Globalization required newer ways of connectivity and so the advent of the Internet gave a completely new dimension to the same. In the 1990s world was observing the growth of the internet, it was expanding its scope, also in the same years of the ‘90s, various commercial and non-commercial activities were being facilitated through World Wide Web. Before the involvement of commercial activities on the internet, the internet was free from intellectual property issues. But the development of commercial activities in the internet spectrum not only saw the rise of intellectual property issues on a local stage but these issues became a regular theme of public policies globally.

    Why is there a need for Intellectual Property System for the Internet? 

    The emergence of the Internet has become bounteous for the intellectuals as well as for the commoners. Intellectuals use their creative minds to develop something which has a certain value attached to it. So to protect this value on the internet and elsewhere, our world came up with a system to protect inventions of intellectuals from being freely counterfeited and plagiarised. This system focuses on protecting the developments not only at the national level but also on the international forum. The absence of the IP system would inflict serious damage to the right holders(local and cross-border) and therefore it is this reason why countries of the world prefer to synchronise the IP rules and regulations by entering into international IP treaties. 

    Is synchronization necessary?

    Globalisation demands cooperation and a platform like an internet demand transparency and privacy both at the same time. Globalisation and the Internet are products of each other, one facilitates another and for the successful run of the duo, it is vital that countries across the globe acknowledge each other’s laws and trim them down, so as to choose what is best for all. This is the only way through which right holders and their respective countries can benefit from intellectual innovations. If the IP laws aren’t harmonised, then the whole system would fall apart, counterfeiting and plagiarism would ruin the hard work and commitment of intellectuals. That being a case, synchronised legal structure and laws are a quintessential requirement for building a perfect IP world. [1]

    Domain Name Chaos

    The basic component of the internet is a website, a user can access the website by typing the particular domain name assigned to the company. The chaos part is how can companies and certain individuals maintain ownership of their domain names? since the internet is a public platform accessible to each and every individual, it is open to all kinds of threats. This easy accessibility is a boon and as well as a curse since at one side it gives access to people to scoop a lot of knowledge, but on the same side, it results in an open playfield for some online predators who use this as a room to maneuver money. Some individuals use a domain name that is similar to the victim company’s trademark; this is done to attract consumers and to gain an advantage in a competitive market.   

    There is also a term called “Cyber-Squatting,” which is nothing but an attempt of some individuals to obtain registration through an unscrupulous way and then selling the obtained domain name to a lawful owner of the trademark. “Unscrupulous way” because these individuals have a pre-planned strategy of acquiring the domain name through registration and then selling it to the target, it is only unlawful when there is an intent behind all this process. There is also a term called “Typo-squatting” which is dependant on customers’ typographical errors. If while entering the domain name in a web browser user makes a typographical error, then the user would be channelised onto the site of a squatter. A lot of online traffic is diverted through this way, this increases the engagement of a website which yields out money for the site’s owner.

    Safeguarding the accessibility of Specific Domain Names through Artificial Intelligence

    Encrypted patterns and threats can be easily detected by artificial intelligence. AI aptly alerts concerned authorities before its late. Domain names are the principal targets for many unauthorized individuals, these individuals easily destruct IP System by exploiting IP assets on websites. Protecting government-owned websites and private corporations’ websites are the need of the hour, and AI is the only hope. 

    • AI as an Anti-Cybersquatting tool:- Artificial Intelligence is the biggest future asset of mankind, it is yet to be polished and properly developed, but it is not that far from being a perfect tool. AI can be a faultless tool to prevent cybersquatting. It can be placed in between a user and the internet servers; this way AI would be used to filter unauthorized registration since the internet servers would already have information about the trademarks that various companies own. 
    • AI as an Anti-Typosquatting tool:- Modern-day devices come with advanced chipsets that are capable of adapting to users’ way of using them. This advancement is nothing but a miracle of Artificial Intelligence, AI embedded in devices keeps a close eye on users’ way of searching the internet, it suggests suitable options based upon users history. When inserting a domain name the user would have AI to his rescue since it would recognize a typographical error and would automatically transfer the user to what he/she is looking for. This is possible since AI would adapt to the searching pattern of a user and would suggest on the basis of users’ history, this ability of AI can be used to prevent typo-squatting. 

    ICANN and UDRP

    Therefore to let the trademark holders contest fairly against the abusive usage of their trademark, the Internet Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers(ICANN) accepted the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP). Under this policy, a complainant can file a complaint to the “Dispute Resolution Service Provider” approved by ICANN. [2]

    Domain Name Registration and Faults

    The value of domain names has been a talk of the town for decades now. The domain names carry a certain value of importance and this is not very hard to guess that humans have a natural tendency of assigning a price tag to everything. Domain names are not far from the set norm. During the dot-com boom, domain names were bought for a whopping millions. When the stakes are that high, legal issues join the journey. Legal issues in a way that many unauthorised parties register the domain names which resemble the other companies/corporation name. Thus take undue advantage of someone else’s goodwill.[3] The situation becomes even more critical when the fact that the internet world only allows one domain name registrations, unlike the physical world. The process of domain name registration is a faulty one, has various loopholes which are yet to be filled. Below listed point reflects on what part of the process is faulty:-

    • First Come First Served: The entire domain name registration is based upon one simple principle of ‘first come first serve’. This system is a traditional one and it has been effective in all the aspects of mankind’s development but it turned out to be faulty on the infamous World Wide Web since it puts the legitimate interest and rights of trademark owners in jeopardy. The solution for what seems a complicated system is simple, all it needs to do is embed filters. Adding filters in the process would decrease the number of unauthorised parties getting their hands on domain names containing trademarks. Filters are nothing but verifying the registers through an online verification system. Furthermore, it would move towards finding the legitimate interests of parties seeking registration. [4]   

    Online Entertainment and Piracy threats

    The online world is a blessing for many artists, actors, and singers, who are already known and also for those who are budding. There are various platforms which got remarkably popular in the later years of 2010, this revolutionary change in the entertainment industry was because of telecommunication giants like Reliance, BSNL(Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited) Airtel, Vodafone, and Idea. These networking companies had to compete among themselves to attract customers, for overall economic growth many companies adopted a very aggressive approach, this benefited some companies in the long run and was a boon to consumers and the entertainment industries. Data Prices fell down rapidly and customers started to utilize the internet for entertainment and academic purposes. Platforms like Netflix, Spotify, Disney Hotstar Plus, Amazon Prime Video, and Youtube rose to stardom. Their viewers have significantly increased, these platforms have critically damaged the traditional theatre entertainment. [5]

    Netflix is one such lionised platform, it uses intellectual properties so as to improve its long term competitive advantage. It uses intellectual properties to protect the platform from potential copyright infringement. Although the company uses encryption to protect the data it still has certain loopholes that can be exploited by some predators. This demotivates the creators since they are awarded nothing for their hard work. 

    Law as a Shield

    The intrinsic work of Intellectual property laws is to handover complete ownership of the intellectual property to the respective developers/creators. The laws are developed to make owners the ultimate individuals who can confer rights upon their Intellectual property. These rights are not absolute but subject to such conditions which have been laid down in the law. The Competition Act, 2002, and other intellectual property laws safeguard the rights, they do not let owners abuse their undivided rights.

    National Intellectual Property Rights Policy, 2016

    The introduction of National Intellectual Property Rights Policy in 2016 works as a shield and promotes commercialism of the individual’s creativity, it promotes commercialism but not at the stake of security. Since then the policy has had a fruitful impact on intellectual property rights, the policy packs aggressive and submissive steps at the same time thus ensuring stability for the whole IP system. The policy promotes innovation, creativity, and also unconventionality isn’t demotivated which is it is one of the most surprising features. In addition, the policy ensures proper economic development by establishing a proper IP system.  

    Conclusion

    Globalisation gave our world newer ways to explore different fields, modern ways to communicate, and increased creativity all over the globe, currently, it thrives towards making boundaries invisible. Moreover, globalization helped in exploring the dimensions of law and economics. The emergence of the Internet gave the intellectual property a boost which it abruptly needed. The global intellectual community has been moving towards making a better world for the coming generations through gateways of the internet and for that the nations require common laws. Internet is a hive for intellectual property assets, protecting both internet and IP assets should be a common goal for nations. Synchronization in IP laws would, therefore, improve the safety of IP assets not only on a local scale but also on the global spectrum.

    Arrest And Rights Of An Arrested Person

    Furthermore, domain names are open goldmines for online predators, protecting them is the new challenge for governments, the domain name registration system as a certain loophole which this paper tried to find. “First Come First Serve” system although is easy to apply and execute but it falls back when it comes to solving the technicalities of a complex platform like the internet. The ICANN has taken steps which certainly are appreciable, the whole UDRP acceptance as completely transformed the way disputes regarding domain names were resolved. Cybersquatting and Typosquatting need to be eliminated and for this artificial intelligence could come handy. Specific domain names can be shielded with the use of AI. Although artificial intelligence is yet to be fully formed it is adequately useful in the current scenario. Online entertainment which saw an enormous rise in recent years saw increased rates of piracy. Online streaming services have to be under the cross-hairs of online pirates, this has being nullifying the efforts of creators but also lowering down the engagement of such online streaming platforms thus lowering their profit rates as well. Moreover, there are tons of copyrights on such platforms, online piracy diminishes the IP rights that creators have on their music and movies. For preventing such loss, the Government of India introduced the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy in 2016 which has to be fairly effective in protecting such content. The policy not only protects but also promotes the creation of such entertainment but also takes in IPR into consideration and facilitates economic growth through the same.

    The world is changing rapidly and at an unprecedented pace and the way we protect our most valuable assets should also change for the good of all.  

    Endnotes

    1. Pamela Samuelson, Intellectual Property meets the Internet, Oxford Handbooks Online, p. 1-37, 2020.
    2.  Shamnad Basheer (n.d.). Trademark Issues on the Internet: Domain Name Dispute Resolution. In Legal Conceptions of Cyber Space, (p. 153), 2020.
    3.  Ibid.
    4.  Ibid.
    5.  Granit Currie, Intellectual Property Law: Age of Internet, Vol. no. 5, AJIS, p. 363, 2020.

    Rushikesh D. Patil | National Law University, Nagpur

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