Sample Business Studies Essay on Copyright Concerns

Copyright Concerns

Summary of Ethical and Legal Facts of the Case

Ralph was dishonest with SDX Alliance Manger. Had he disclosed to the manager that he had used the code in the previous company, he would have saved the company the time and resources spent in rewriting the entire code. The start-up company where Ralph worked initially would have informed him that he was the real owner of the copyright before attempting to own it without full disclosure. The fact that the start-up went out of business without even informing Ralph that he could claim his copyright makes the matter worse (Markulla Center for Applied Ethics, 2015). Ralph has a legal right to sue the start-up for damages. The start-up benefited from the copyright at the expense of Ralph, which is taking advantage of someone’s talent. Thus, the start-up company should be held liable for lack of full disclosure. Being the rightful owner of the copyright, Ralph has every right over it

Lack of Copyright Knowledge

Being a good person does not stop legal action from being taken against Ralph. He clearly committed an offense by quietly using a similar code he had used in the start-up company where he worked before. Instead, Ralph ought to have disclosed to the SDX Alliance manager that he had used the code in another company. Since the start-up company had registered the copyright, it remains their legal property (Markulla Center for Applied Ethics, 2015). As a result, Ralph should be sued for breach of copyright laws. He should face the consequences of contravening the copyright laws, causing losses to SDX Alliance, and unnecessary delays. As the old adage states, ignorance is no defense.

Alternatives and Consequences

From a moral perspective, the start-up company is the legal owner of the copyright even if it is unreachable. It should be understood that being out of business does not stop the start-up company from being the legal owner of the copyright. Attempting to reach out to the start-up company or instituting legal action against it to have the copyright transferred to Ralph is one alternative. However, this action might take a very long time and may not yield the desired outcome (Markulla Center for Applied Ethics, 2015). The other alternative is to write a completely new code, even if this might also delay the release of a new product. In addition, Ralph can make slight changes to the code and obtain its copyright. This action would protect the image and reputation of SDX Alliance as it would not be liable for copyright infringement.

Lesson and New Policy

Ralph’s manager has learned a few lessons from this case. He has learned that the start-up company violated the rights Ralph by taking his code and protecting it intellectually without giving due consideration to the real developer. Ralph has a right to sue the start-up company for stealing what belongs to him. Moreover, given that the start-up company is no longer doing business, SDX Alliance should be permitted to use the code. Ralph should make slight changes to the initial code in order to obtain a copyright for it. SDX Alliance should put in place a new policy that requires the company to protect its original creative works in the future (Grossman & Lai, 2004). Ralph Manager also learned that if any party infringes on your copyrights, you have the right to take legal action against such a party. The legal action includes seeking compensation for the financial losses incurred for using your copyright without your knowledge


Grossman, G. M., & Lai, E. L. C. (2004). International protection of intellectual property. American Economic Review94(5), 1635-1653.

Markulla Center for Applied Ethics. (August 26, 2015). Copyright Concerns. Retrieved from