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Freedom of expression and intellectual property rights

Grading Rubric for Participation

Students responsible for replying: Replied to 3 classmates’ postings. Ensure you provide with substantive relevant postings, adding value to the discussion and demonstrating student’s understanding of the concepts.

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2- For the reference you must add DOI or a web link to be able to see where the source came from.

3- Must provide Turnitin report with assignment.

4- Read the attached file with the classmates discussion post.

5- Must follow all the guidelines/instructions.


Be sure you are contributing to the discussion by adding your thoughts and research on the topic as well as critiquing the work of your peers.

Discuss the subjects, pointing out the differences.

To your reply post to your classmates add a least one citation and resource to document your research.

Professor Z.

Student 1 cazz post:

Discuss how freedom of expression and intellectual property rights might ethically conflict. In your reply, consider how your own freedom of expression might affect your privacy or personal intellectual property. Please provide examples when possible.

This is a great topic for our year of Covid-19. With the internet and airwaves rife with accusations of cultural appropriation, it was only a matter of time before the massive time spent on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter in the year 2020 provoked a collision between freedom of expression and IP. A great example is dance. Thousands of people record and upload themselves daily showing off dance moves. Some of those moves are original, and could someone who imitated that dance without attribution be committing plagiarism? Can a living-room dance move be intellectual property? Doesn’t freedom of expression protect us when we repeat another’s dance moves? It happens all the time in clubs, right? Certainly large choreographed dance moves and movements have legal protections, but now it’s becoming a big deal when it’s a video on the internet.

I think this is a tough item to pin down. A year ago many people were doing the ‘Floss’ (Flossing?) from the popular game Fortnite. The ethical lines are drawn (and clear) when that dance ends up in a professional dance production or a movie, but the random Instagram user does not have the same protections. Kees (2020) states that achieving copyright protection has been a difficult task, but that may be changing thanks to the growing business of IP Law Firms – and those Tik-Tok users might soon have a lot more options. According to Kapoor (2021), social media is the driving force to bring IP of dance to prominence, and the courts.

Although I do not have any social media, hypothetically I could see how an individual conveying their freedom of expression and posting pictures, original art, or long-winded diatribes on social media could be affected. Firstly, I think the fine print on Facebook terms & conditions page #7,654 gives the company the rights to every single thing posted on their sites (including Instagram and WhatsApp). Once posted or emailed you lose any property or privacy rights to any materials, but this is the bargain people have made with social media sites. Secondly, if someone has extreme views they may be making a whole host of trouble for themselves and may have their own personal privacy severely impacted by posting inflammatory opinions. It’s their right to express themselves, but actions can have unintended consequences.


Kees, L. (2020, November 19). Copyright for Choreography: When is Copying a Dance a Copyright Violation? ipwatchdog. Retrieved from:

Kapoor, S. (2021, February 9). Protect your moves – A mix of Intellectual Property and Dance. Retrieved from:

Student 2 derricki post:

Discuss how freedom of expression and intellectual property rights might ethically conflict. In your reply, consider how your own freedom of expression might affect your privacy or personal intellectual property. Please provide examples when possible.

Freedom of expression refers to our ability to be able to express our beliefs, thoughts, ideas, and emotions about different subjects or points without restrictions or control from the government. (Freedom Forum, n.d.) The First Amendments states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances”. (Congress Annotated, n.d.) This Amendment not only protects our privacy, but it also protects our right to have freedom of expression as well.

Intellectual property rights are rights that protect an individual’s creation or original work. The three laws that protect intellectual property rights are patents, trademarks, and copyrights. Patents are rights granted to the inventor and gives them the right to decide who if anyone can use their invention. Trademarks are unique or distinguishing signs, symbols, phases, and logos, that identify services or goods that a particular company or organization provides. Trademarks prevents other individuals or organizations from using similar signs, symbols, phases, and logos on their product. Copyrights are rights or a form of legal protection given to the owner that allows them to whatever they want with their product (i.e.) sell, publish, or reproduce. (InQuartik, 2020)

Freedom of Expression and Intellectual Property Rights both protects the rights of the individual or organization. When it comes to communication on the internet (i.e.) social media there can be an ethical conflict. This is because social media formats such as emails, Facebook and Twitter was designed for social communications, which a lot of people consider to be private or a protected space of their own. The problem is that communication on social media is made available to a broad public and once this communication or information is made public, the owner of the information no longer has control over it. When control is lost, it results in a loss of privacy. The consequence of this lost can be devastating because unethical issues can occur which could result in a breach of an individual’s privacy both from a security stand point and a physical stand point. Due to this the Freedom of Expression and Intellectual Property Rights are in some point ineffective. (Cain, J., & Fink, J., 2010)

Social media has changed how we communicate, exchange, and gather information through their sharing platforms, it has thrown all the individuals ownership rights away and because of the way that the internet and social media can be manipulated, it has also affected intellectual rights as well. We must be mindful and understand that ethics is about determining value and that the right ethical action depends on the individual and their situation. When we decide to use the internet or any type of social media, we lose our right of ownership of any information that we put out there and are in a sense trusting that the media sites that we use, and their other users will display some sort of morality and ethical value concerning this information. This why it is important that we use caution with the information that we are exchanging. (Business Ethics Workshop, p.1 & 155, n.d.)

References: American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. Cain, Jeff & Fink, Joseph. (2010, December 2015). Legal and Ethical Issues Regarding Social Media and Pharmacy Education Business Ethics Workshop. (n.d.). What is Business Ethics. Constitution Annotated. (n.d.) First Amendment Freedom Forum Institute. (n.d.) What is Freedom of Expression  InQuartik, (2020, February 7). The Different Types of IP Protection and Why They Are Important. rights/#:~:text=Intellectual%20property%20rights%20are%20legal,%2C%20copyrights%2C%20and%20trade%20secrets

Student 3 anita post:

Discuss how freedom of expression and intellectual property rights might ethically conflict. In your reply, consider how your own freedom of expression might affect your privacy or personal intellectual property. Please provide examples when possible.

“Freedom of expression is the right of individuals and organizations to exchange information without fear of repercussion or censorship”(Wigmore,2018). Expanding the right of individuals to express their views without intervention will be crucial. That is, information must be sought and received in any medium, regardless of the boundaries. Thus, freedom of expression has been used universally to share and find information by individuals. The law universally protects intellectual property.

Intellectual property is defined as any creative work and includes inventions, literary works, images, and symbols (Contributors, 2019). In this innovative age, the ethical tensions between freedom of speech and intellectual property rights are numerous. In any decision-making to be reached, there needs to be freedom of speech. The internet has now become a great connection between people (Moore, 2012). It has created a chain whereby reaching people is much easier. The internet has allowed people to have the freedom to manipulate, re-explain some work, but on the same point, only the creator of some information can manipulate his/her knowledge as he/she wants. Example of a case study in which if someone searches the internet or reads papers such as books and puts the material on paper, they must credit the original creator of the concept.

Social media today has adversely changed the way individuals communicate and make the exchange of ideas. Information such as images is shared today just by any registered individual to these social media platforms. Social media has become very interactive. When these individuals make up their minds using social media, they must keep in mind that one may not claim ownership of the generated content.

Today, the platforms that have come up are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, not to mention a few that have given way to throwing away the ownership rights. It is alarming that the digital revolution, as they say, has moved quicker than the regulations. Social media has made the information to be manipulated and moving across like wildfire without a doubt. While since it has become a great deal to depend on how we use the internet and the companies have become so powerful, someone stated they are more powerful than the presidents. Let it be known that power without responsibility is dangerous and can indeed get corrosive at some point (UNESCO, 2015). Without nurturing concern for other people, this sort of control will exploit the majority. We, therefore, need to say that internet service providers are responsible for delivering the full range of internet capabilities without putting their customers at risk.


Contributors, W. (2019, May 13). Information Technology and Ethics/Intellectual Property. Wikibooks, open books for an open world.

Moore, A. D., & Unsworth, K. (2012, January 7). ‘Introduction’ to information ethics: Privacy, property, and power.

UNESCO. (2015).

Wigmore, I. (2018, September 29). What is freedom of expression? – Definition from

Last Updated on April 11, 2021

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