ITGS Syllabus

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Topic 20

Implications of Collaboration, Groupware and Data sharing by Chaan Tutlam

Ever since the introduction of the internet for civilian use, rather than strictly only for the use of the government, it has quickly become a means for spreading and enhancing information. When information, product, or software is ownerless, and is openly edited by outsiders without any need for permission, this product becomes the result of groupware, collaboration and data sharing. Groupware and data sharing have accelerated the rate of inventions over the internet, but they also have had social implications as well.

What if software is being developed through groupware, collaboration and data sharing and one person decides to claim ownership to it all of a sudden. Since this software is being developed by bits and pieces of contribution from a lot of people’s ideas, who will have the right to claim otherwise. Although the unwritten law agreed upon on data sharing is that no one can claim ownership, can this unwritten law be subject to change? After all, it is an unofficial law.

If that software becomes successful, does the “owner”, in other words the original poster of that software have the right to claim ownership? In another scenario, what if the software develops into something malicious such a virus and causes damage to an individual’s or a corporation’s computers, who will be to blame for this. Will the blame rest on the shoulders of the original poster or everyone who contributed to the software?

What if some group of people are editing the software to change its purpose and direction, does the original poster of the software have the right to say anything about what kind of direction his software should take? These issues affect the society as a whole because if corporation’s computers are damaged because of that software created through groupware, the corporation will loose lots of money due to this problem.

The main solution to solve these problems and issues would be for some kind of authority body to separate the products of groupware, collaboration and data sharing from the products produced by copyright. In this way, the problems of groupware and data sharing will be isolated to only that area, and will not mix with legal/patented products. If these two “worlds” do mix, as the scenario given above of software made by groupware damaging corporation computers, then anyone who edited that software should be held accountable. Since the owner, once after posting the original software doesn’t have full command of this software, it would only be fair to put blame on the editors of that software.

From this solution mentioned above, another problem arises: how do we figure out and trace the editors of software on groupware. A feasible solution would either be to ask for a traceable username when editing or have some kind of tracing software which can be used to trace and find anyone who edits a particular piece of software. This way, even though not 100% guaranteed to work, can put a little barrier of responsibility on the part of the groupware editors.

In the case of the original poster all of a sudden claiming ownership for the software for one reason or another, I don’t think that should be taken as a legitimate claim. From the moment one posts software on groupware or decides to data share, he or she looses sole possession of that software and cannot ever claim ownership of it!


Anonymous said...

What are some of the important keywords that should be considered for this topic?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 7:24:00 PM

Anonymous said...

Adding to Simone's comment I think the keyword in this scenario should be reliability, security, and authentication. As all the three terms focus on this issue.

Monday, November 27, 2006 3:29:00 AM

Anonymous said...

Well, instead of unwritten unofficial laws, maybe its time to write down offical laws! It about time copyright laws are enforced more strictly, since peer 2 peers and spyware run free in the interent. Responsibly inside and outside the internet should be the same.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 7:42:00 PM

Anonymous said...

I think this problem needs individual ethics to be solved. its up to the people. but thats too idealistic an idea.haha.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 7:46:00 PM

Anonymous said...

One point I'd like to make that has relation to your post is that software in its purest form is merely an arrangement of 0s and 1s to get a result. It seems strange for us to be claiming ownership for that, doesnt it?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 8:08:00 PM

Anonymous said...

simone is me, Simon Ruiz.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 7:25:00 PM

ronniewonnie said...

Nice essay, Chaan.
True, the internet is almost our main source of "spreading and enhancing information" as you said in your essay.
I learned a lot about data sharing and contribution, as long as the unwritten law (which was the most interesting) thanks to you.
Ronald Chu

Monday, December 11, 2006 9:44:00 PM

Anonymous said...

I am not completely clear about the terms involved in this topic.
interesting essay. examples like the one mr. martens was kind enough to give us of bill gates would have been helpful.

Friday, December 15, 2006 6:10:00 AM


Blogger sam_shobeiri said...

I think this is a good essay but i see one problem with the solution chaan presents here. It would be great if we can trace everyone that edits the software, but in this day and age that is almost impossible without a huge budget. It will be very difficult to put security on editing software as it can be easily hacked and copied.Then the only way is to trace, but that cost a lot of money. Who is going to pay for all this trouble?

January 07, 2007 6:26 PM  

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