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Internet Piracy

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We all use internet and are thankful to such a creation. It helps us in researching on any topic that exists in this world. It helps us communicating across the seven seas. It helps us updating ourselves with the latest happenings around the world just on a click.

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It helps us in educating ourselves and doing on-line courses for reputed degrees. It helps us in talking face to face via camera over net. It has made life so easy for us that world in true sense has globalized for every individual, be it a professional, student or a mother.

Along with the above advantages of internet for almost every individual we can say life is easy. We need a single piece of information and in within seconds we get it on our emails. It gives us access to the widest library available in the world, to the richest and valuable data which would cost thousands or millions to gather just on a click. File sharing; no cost downloading and uploading has made life so easy.

These were some of the advantages internet provides us. Imagine if we were suppose to work hard, struggle, spend millions and come up with something valuable, would you give it for free? Would you not wish for the due credit? Would you not like it that you be rewarded by appreciation as well as monetarily so that your cost is covered and you make a return on your investment? Or put it this way that you are paid for your time and creativity? Of course the answer is yes [exceptions of philanthropists]. Some of us would even fight strongly to get the due credit while some might keep trying or give up the idea of creating because of the fact that talent is not rewarded.

People simply download music and software for free and burn CDs of it even for further distribution. How many of us have legally gained access to Microsoft Office 2007? This is software piracy. How many of us download songs and movies for free? This is media piracy. This is internet piracy. Stealing intellectual property of which you don’t have any copy rights on. This has become a major issue for entertainment industry and software industry.

Intellectual Property:

Intellectual property can be defined as knowledge or expression that is owned by someone else. Property here refers to the creations of the minds like inventions, lyrics, music, any artistic work, designs, logos, fonts and images and many more. For convenience of understanding we could classify it into two categories; Industrial property, which is protected through patents and Artistic work, which is protected through Copy rights. Artistic work includes all novels, poems, music and everything.

Existing Laws:

To circumvent the piracy activities software companies have come up with EULA [End User License Agreement]. For a user to use the software, he/ she has to abide by this agreement and unless until he does not agree he will not be given the rights to access.  However, the advancement in technology has enabled the illegal users to take advantage of the loop holes.

In Virginia and Maryland, the software companies are granted rights to force unauthorized software copiers to close down, without court intervening in the issue.  This act is called UCITA [US Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act]. This was for physical close downs. The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act gives the copyrights holders the right to actually force the online service providers to disable access to infringing materials ( Holtzman, 2006).

There are many other laws such as Communication Decency Act, WIPO Copyright and Performances and Phonograms Treaties Implementation Act, US Copyright Office and many more.

The sufferers of internet piracy:

The media industry and software industry are suffering the most due to piracy.

Media industry includes all music, films, animated movies, porn movies, designs, logos and even fonts and images of different things. People who like to listen to music download music for free. This is not fair for the musicians who invested so much of their time and money in the creation of an album or a song. Some argue here that internet piracy is bad for the producers but not for the musicians as they have not greatly invested in the creation, finance matters and the developers; the producers suffer.

The argument presented above is not a justified because the producers produce the CDs or DVDs and cassettes by gaining the copyright of materializing the intellectual property of the artist. The content on the CD is the brain child and creation of the artist. The artist has thought about it day, night throughout to make it the best. He has treated it like a part of him and given in the best he could. This all needs to be rewarded and as we all know time is the most crucial thing which everybody is not willing to give therefore it is highly paid. This does not mean that the producer can afford losses. The producers definitely suffer more than the artists because of heavy investment in sharing the artists’ work with the world and if he does not make a return just because of INTERNET PIRACY then it is very discouraging(Levine,Church,Stebben& Lawrence, 2002).

Internet on one hand is spreading knowledge and technology at a much faster pace and on the other hand it is because of internet piracy discouragement has lead to people not sharing their creativity. This is economically hindering media growth. Recently, Sumner Redstone $12 billion porn movies industry was hit by internet piracy and this issue was highlighted all over the Hollywood.

The software industry also bears the losses due to Software internet piracy. Software piracy has also resulted in huge economic losses. It is not an easy task to track infringement. This piracy is extremely unfair for the copyright holders; who are paying for the licenses. Some might argue here that putting bounding laws on free software downloading is hindering the technological spread and thus expansion. However, nothing is for free in this world and these expansion lovers should not ethically be expanding on other persons’ wealth. The software developer and the accompanying companies should and must be rewarded by putting controls on illegal users.

In response to the above arguments against piracy people, there are big personalities who actually support piracy. The President of Romania, Traian Basescu has clearly stated that in Romania piracy has helped the IT industry to flourish and develop. He also said that Romania’s young generation discovered computers with piracy’s help (Rob & Waldfogel, 2006).

Microsoft executive, Jeff Raikes said that as far as the piracy issue is concerned, they would want to be the first piracy people as they believe that in the long run the greater the base of their users the better for he Microsoft, the only thing we hope after this is that to convert them into legal licensed users. Today almost 99 percent of computers have Microsoft installed in it. Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft said, piracy helped them in gaining 90 percent of the market share and it helped them in competing with Linux in presence of piracy than no piracy.

According to statistics China and Vietnam are the biggest offenders and US the biggest sufferer as 80 percent of the software come from US.  US has lost around $11 to 12 billion. This has decreased the technological growth as the profits are being stolen by the piracy. However, it is pleasing to note that in US particular piracy has decreased from 48 percent in 1989 to 25 percent in 2002. It is slow and gradual but at the least happening.

Kinds of Software Piracy:

·         Using CD-R recording technology in illegally copying software.

·         Using the software commercially which is developed for non-commercial use or restricted use.

·         Violating the trademark laws. That is copying and selling illegal copies of software as if they were licensed copies and seller has all rights to sell. In Pakistan there is a complete market Rainbow Center of infringed material (Rob & Waldfogel, 2006).

·         Selling of Hard Disk which is fully equipped with illegal copies of software. Few people sell their hard disks on which they have saved pirate software.

·         Internet Piracy, illegal uploading and downloading of software on the internet for any user to use it and even make a copy of it.

·         Software copied on the main server and its native clients gain access to it. This is violation of the agreements terms.

·         Soft lifting; that is a single user purchases a licensed copy and installs the software on several systems. This is also considered as violation of the agreement.

·         Industrial Piracy: when software is copied and reproduced on a large scale with the intention of making profit.

·         Corporate Piracy: in offices LAN or peer to peer network exists thus making it is easy for unprotected data to be shared.

·         Reseller Piracy: similar to hard disk piracy. In it computer hardware companies sell equipped hard drives to people.

·         Home-Piracy: this is what all of us do, that is illegally distributing software to our friends and family.

After going through the above types of piracy, now we can conclude that file sharing is a medium of carrying out piracy. In 1999, Napster was developed to make music collection sharing easy and fast. However, this took the entire concept towards piracy. Many applications are developed for piracy purposes and with the introduction of broad band internet at an affordable rate, this deadly combination of resources of piracy and internet access has increased the crime rate. This affected the film, music and software industry adversely.

Supporters of File Sharing:

The people who still support file sharing are those who think that information needs to be free. They believe that they should not be stopped in distributing the information as they term it freedom of speech. It is funny how these people actually relate the US First Amendment of Freedom of Speech to this freedom of speech. The Amendment pledges “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…” (Chander,Gelman&  Radin,2008)

Many supporters argue when profits are dragged in the discussion. These say that they would have never purchased the software therefore the companies should not really include file sharers as genuine users and show losses in profits. They also argue that the loss due to file sharing is not huge. Few advocates go to the extent of arguing that a physical copy that is a CD was not stolen therefore considering and estimating the losses on including potential clients is not right.

They term it as Victimless Crime. Few supporters who keep ethical issues in mind defend themselves by saying that we were testing the software before purchasing it.

Criticizers of File Sharing:

The opponents bring in the issue of ethics in defending their point. In response to the First Amendment point by supporters, the opponents argue that when obscenity and vulgarity is not allowed in public areas under freedom of speech and expression then even this illegal activity could not be included under the umbrella of Freedom of speech. They also say question who gave File sharing the right to share information free of charge? (Chander,Gelman&  Radin, 2008).

In relation to the claim that the losses are insignificant and not huge, the opponents showed that in 2005, Motion Picture Association of America studios lost around $2.3 billion worldwide only due to internet piracy. Peer-to-peer networks have resulted in many unauthorized copies been distributed for free illegally. When companies are investing heavily for our entertainment purpose and of course profit purpose then why cannot we pay for our entertainment and be proud members and not the thieves of the society.

If we look up any dictionary, like dictionary.com, the meaning of Copyrights is to make licensed copies of work. It is a special right to make copies and it needs to be bought. People who share files do not have any such rights.

Economic Repercussions:

The economy was affected, is affected and will continue to be affected if Internet piracy is not stopped or at the least controlled.

The introduction of new music formats such as MP3, Real Player, Mpeg, Apeg have actually increased the sharing of music. Gadgets such as iPods, MP3 players, and USB players have resulted in increase of downloading music and even movies. The compression of files due to digital technology has given birth to such gadgets and even further research and development in this area.  Where industries are suffering because of internet piracy, the industry of technological gadgets has flourished because of piracy(Chander,Gelman&  Radin, 2008).

However, with the entertainment industry declining and suffering losses due to piracy has adversely affected economy, in particular US economy as they develop 80 percent of the software.  These heavy investors need protection laws so that they keep investing and keep developing the industry. (Rob & Waldfogel, 2006).

If piracy is not controlled it might force many businesses out of the industry and the losses would become visible when accumulated.

What could be done and few success stories…

The legitimate companies such as Presspaly, AOL MusicNet, and RealNetworks have purchased rights to distribute music. All non-legitimate companies should be banned from distributing music and severe action should be taken against them.  Napster happened to be illegal music sharer. Services like KaZaA, Groekster, iMesh, and Gnutella create an ease in downloading licensed and unlicensed files. Laws should be enforced on these services.

In October 2005, MPAA recovered $120million of infringed material in Texas and California. The largest recovery of counterfeit material CDs and DVDs in US history. In February 2006, the Swiss and Belgium authorities closed down Razorback2 the most favorite eDonkey peer-to-peer network. It had 1.3 million users sharing at the same time. Torrent was also closed down as it was also involved in user swapping worldwide. In May 2006, a Bill was passed regarding protection of broadcast content from piracy. In January 2006, Randolph Hobson was proven guilty and he had to forfeit $800,000 to US government. Researchers are conducted on Movie labs on how to make content more secured.

The above steps are taken by MPAA. The following are collaborative efforts in controlling piracy. It is taken from the article by MPAA.

·         Warner Brothers has been partnering with Free Record Shop using P2P distribution

·         Universal partners with LoveFilm in UK, offering downloads

·         CBS and Verizon FiOS TV partnering to show selected programs

·         Disney offering feature length movies on I-tunes just for $9.99

·         CBS delivering college basketball “March Madness” online

·         ABC has offers of free downloads at its website

·         Disney re-launching the MovieBeam – the online delivery of VOD / Disney announcing a deal with iTunes

·         NBC Universal launching Aeon Digital set top box

·         CBS offering selected programs at $1.99 on demand

·         Warner Bros. launching peer to peer service In2Movies in Germany

·         Fox announcing VOD and DVD windows collapse

·         NBC Universal has announced Peer Impact deal (Craig & Burnett, 2005).

The legitimate companies should be continuously given incentives to keep the law going in their premises and control.

Few Calculation Facts:

Around 9 percent of internet users download music regularly. The likely hood of user peer-to-peer user is around 50 percent higher to actually purchase music than that of the non-user. If CD writers are restricted then music download could be reduced by 52.1 percent.

In 2005, Motion Pictures Association lost $6.1biilion. Smith Barney who conducted the piracy research predicted MPAA to lose $5.4 billion. The breakup of $6.1 billion is such; $1.3 billion from piracy in US only, $4.8 billion internationally, $2.4 million due to boot-legging.

According to statistics, China 93percent, Russia 81 percent, Hungary 73percent, Poland 66 percent, Thailand 62 percent, Mexico 62 percent, Taiwan 51 percent, Spain 32 percent, India 29 percent and Brazil 22 percent are the respective market lost to piracy (Rob & Waldfogel, 2006).

Profile of Pirates:

·         Males usually aged 16 to 25 are net thefts. These are the college going students living in urban areas.


Internet piracy is an illegal and unethical practice. We being the members of the society should realize that our economy is being affected by this piracy issue and in the long-run it will be us who will suffer because of declining economy. We pay for our food, shelter and clothes. By giving business to entertainment industry and software industry we are making sure that we are paying for our necessities and wants. By stealing on-line we are depriving the people who work hard from their salaries in other words. If we act like mature and responsible society members and curb internet privacy, we would not only be encouraging creativity of entertainment industry but also feel proud that we are not the internet thieves.


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Chander, A., Gelman, L. &  Radin, M.J. (2008). Securing Privacy in the Internet Age. Stanford Law Books.
Craig, P. & Burnett, M. (2005). Software Piracy Exposed. Syngress
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Rob, R. & Waldfogel, J. (2006). Piracy on the High C’s: Music Downloading, Sales Displacement, and Social Welfare in a Sample of College Students. The Journal of Law and Economics, vol. 49.
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Cite this Internet Piracy

Internet Piracy. (2016, Oct 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/internet-piracy/

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