n Commonwealth Youth and Development - Global technological advancement and copyright protection : exploring copyright infringement among university students in rural KwaZulu-Natal




With the liberalisation of international trade laws and the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPS) literal, music, movie and computer artists have ventured into global markets in an effort to reap the most out of their artistic creations. This new breed of intellectual property traders have discovered that their trade is quite different from that of merchandise traders. They have found that the rate of theft in their business is quite high and no structures such as insurance can cope with, or have been put in place to help deal with, this peril. Being a new segment of international trade, local and international law have been caught unawares and are ill prepared to deal with it. Further, socio-economic factors such as poverty and technological advancement, particularly in developing countries, continue to haunt these new global traders. However, despite some positive measures being put in place to help protect this new segment of global trade, the situation on the ground reveals that the effects of these new measures have not reached the lower levels of society.

This study therefore sets out to establish the state of copyright infringement and the effect of the existing copyright protection measures taken among university students at a university in rural KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), South Africa. Thus, the study reports the findings of 291 respondents interviewed using a structured questionnaire in May 2005.
Copyright infringement as a result of societal factors was found to be common in this university. Further, copyright protection measures seem not to be implemented because most respondents were unaware of them. The results confirm that copyright infringement is common among university students and copyright protection measures are absent or are not effective, which negatively interferes with the income of intellectual property traders.


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