The Ethics of Information Sharing

A piece talking about the changing landscape of journalism

Journalists are the ultimate information sharers, which makes the Internet the ideal forum to get their messages out. The fundamental purpose of the Internet is to easily share information in an instantaneous fashion. Every person now has the infinite knowledge of humanity within his or her reach and that is innovation at its best. The drawback is that with the free flow of information there is little control over someone protecting or receiving the benefits for their work.

The battle against information sharing has begun in legal suits of copyright infringement, and piracy. Rules and ethics are disregarded when it comes to the ambiguity of the Internet. In cases of piracy files are copied so easily you cannot possibly punish every source producing the information. An institution or court can only make examples of a few by punishing them on infringement grounds.

As “Steal this Film” illustrates the sharing of information is nothing new the way it is affecting media is. People have always designed new ways to break down barriers in order to share, language, culture, and ideas. The Internet is no exception especially when there are people who feel entitled to the stream of information, or files that are easily accessible to them.

In contrast journalists have more of an opportunity to garnish press for their stories. The Internet levels the playing field for all journalists to gain exposure for their ideas, and enables them to easily communicate with the masses.

Unfortunately many cannot receive the financial benefits from their work unlike with the traditional newspaper setup that is fading. This relates back to journalists works being replicated anywhere, anytime without their consent or the culprit receiving penance. The public is not opposed to sharing others work without consent. Now that Pandora’s box has been opened the epidemic of file sharing can only be addressed not stopped.

The evolution of the Internet requires journalists to change their economic model in order to adapt to this new era in media. This can be looked at as a death sentence to journalists or a challenge to work with the public, and this new technology to bestow upon the world a profound amount of knowledge.


This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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