The Effects of Cybernetic Brain Implants on Intellectual Property Law

Intellectual property laws aims to create ways for content providers to control how their works are consumed and shared. It also give consumers certain rights to use copyrighted material. With the advent of the internet, it became extremely easy to illegally copy and distribute copyrighted material. This problem will only be exacerbated by the use of brain implants that allow users to have a perfect memory.

It is of course perfectly legal to gain enjoyment by remembering a copyrighted work after it has been presented. In theory, a person with a highly-developed memory could legally recall every word of a book after reading it without the aid of cybernetic brain implants. This is perfectly legal. Does this mean that a person with an implant allowing them to achieve this type of effective memory is violating intellectual property law because they are storing the information somewhere besides their own brain? It could be argued that a brain implant is part of a person’s brain, and should be treated as if it weren’t present as long as it produces effects that non-augmented brains are capable of (Like a photographic memory).

Regardless of the legality of capturing copyrighted material via brain implants, this technology will no doubt make the illegal distribution of copyrighted material even more prevalent. Why bother paying to see a film again when you can re-live it with a perfect digital copy stored in your head? People could also potentiality have the contents of their brain implants seized if they are believed to be illegally in possession of intellectual property.

Memory-enhancing brain implants could have massive implications for the field of intellectual property law. Only time will tell if brain implants become prevalent enough to create these potential problems.



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