Communication Ethics book part for Ethical Drift. (This is an automatically generated summary to avoid having huge posts on this page. Click through to read this post.)
in Communication Ethics
This also explains the ethical drift that has occurred over the last sixty to eighty years. While hammering out the earliest versions of copyright law, it was critical to create an ethical framework for thinking about the issues. But once the system is built, it is easy to treat the system as the goal and forget about the original ethical foundation that it was built on. Forgetting the true foundations of the system was made even easier by the fact that there weren't very many true challenges to the system; adding one more domain may look exciting at the time but the excitement is contained within that domain. It is easy to see with only a little study of the origins of intellectual property that the mistaking of means for ends is nearly complete in current intellectual property law and trends. Only a small fringe group discusses the ethical issues any longer in terms of responsibilities and the basic goals of the intellectual property legal machinery; the vast majority of the discourse is in terms of the rights of the owners, and protection of rights, and often even the ensuring of profit, which is far removed from the original reasons given for our current system.