Reminds me of an article I read years ago, about the Gypsie culture (now referred to as "Roma" by some). Similar situation there. The concept of personal property is foreign to that culture, evidently much as the concept of IP is to the Chinese.
By the way, to answer the question in the title, IP theft is never okay. We have annual mandatory training courses where I work, to drum that point home. And people have been fired when they were caught doing something questionable along those lines, against another company.
I would view the cyber-cold-war waged by governments as something different from the cyber theft of industrial IP, however. Much like armed forces are different from armed thugs on the street.
While on the way to work I caught on the news that Australian customs just seized more than half a ton of ice (drug) worth almost half a billion $ being imported form where? China. The Chinese have a lot to answer for and the west needs to use a bit more stick and less carrot to get them into line, methinks.
ok, US is world's largest exporter of what?
Free and easy. come in email, paper, tapes...
that's the true reason why bin laden co. want to erease this big piece of crap off the face of earth.
A fundamental incompatibility of philosophies. Communism: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need (interpret as "if I need it, I'm justified in taking it"). Capitalism: I'm responsible for my own livelihood, therefore, if I create it, I should be able to profit from it (and I need to so I can put food on the table.)
The better share of knowledge; the better humankind is gonna be.
Imaging if Apple had kept others from building any kind of 3.5" screen to 10" screen no keyboard device, we wouldn't have so many other options to choose from in terms of smartphone and tablet.
On the other hands, there is no doubt that IP protection has encouraged corporation to innovate. We all benefit from it; from electronics to pharmaceutical, from automotive to agricultural.
To identify a theft, you can either catch them in smoking gun or look through loot. To catch an IP theft, unless you catch them in smoking gun, it will be very tricky. Using the attacker network address might be a way. Nonetheless, hackers can be extremely smart. They are able to hijack IP addresses through hacking into multiple hosts to undermine the ability of the authority to track them down. At the end of the days, who knows where they (hackers) are really coming from. We know most likely what they are going after.
When knowledge becomes so critical to get ahead, I've no doubt that most countries are doing their diligence to learn whatever they can. Plus, intelligence is priceless. By knowing the developing of confidential project, authority might be able to do a intelligent guess of what the future takes us. Precaution might be taken.
Seems like my comment earlier disappeared! My point was recognizing IP theft is one part of the problem but correcting that act and enforcement is more important. WTO is supposed to enforce this and signatory parties are expected to abide by it. But this right now is not very well implemented.
way to stay classy, sprite0022.
Actually, I am curious what's really your problem---US is world largest exporter of many things, so I'll take your word for smut being one of them. So what? US leads in high technology, but you seem to wish it off the face of the earth because smut or fast food or whatever. Dude, get some sense of proportion.
US is a major source of high tech by working hard and inventing things, not stealing email, paper or tapes. In fact, people whose recipe for success is surreptitious copying of someone else's IP condemn themselves to eternal inferiority, so be careful what you wish for.
Are you defending stealing IP because it's so easy? I don't even know where to start with this one.
Instead of stealing proprietary IP people would be better off by working to create or improve existing community IP. Whether it's open science or open software or open hardware, such freely available IP is a tide that tends to lift all the boats.
@przemek: thank you! That comment should be sanitized a bit for a professional portal like this! Stealing IP is NOT ok and I have not seen any objective argument to defend it, cultural or otherwise.