Intellectual Property Rights Laws.

Intellectual Property Rights Laws.

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Many people know that online piracy is frowned upon, but many do not realise the severity of this crime. Essentially piracy is the illegal distribution or use of software/digital content that is protected under intellectual property rights laws. In today’s society, online piracy has become more prevalent than ever before due to the huge rise in digital technology and the digitization of property such as music, movies, TV shows, and books. Pirating materials is now easier than it has ever been before. There are many websites that serve as repositories for online pirates, which allows them to pirate online property by creating peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing accounts.

Piracy occurs when someone other than the person that has copyright on the goods copies the product and then resells it at a price cheaper than the original seller was selling it for. Even if you share a copy of the product then this is still considered illegal. Piracy also occurs when one illegally downloads a product for their own personal use.

Because of how easy it is to achieve, it has almost become an acceptable thing to do, yet it is still an illegal habit that can have major effects on the music and movie industries (and even on personal lives). These industries make money from people buying CD’s, DVD’s, or paying to listen to music online, etc, so when people pirate these ‘goods’, then the industries begin to lose money. An incredible amount of money is lost every single year because of online piracy. For example, in 2011 $63 billion dollars was lost due to online piracy, and in 2015, $55 billion was lost.

Software has lost the most money thanks to piracy, overall losing $13.5 billion dollars, followed closely by TV shows that have lost over $12 billion dollars, and movies which have lost over $10 billion. These are staggering losses that have a huge impact on the companies that create the content, and in some cases may have even been the cause of their downfall. People don’t think of this when they try to pirate products. What is almost as bad as the digital pirates themselves are the people that buy or use the pirated products, because although they are not actually the ones that are ‘stealing’ the products, they are encouraging it. If no one used pirated goods then there would be no demand for it.

Although there are many things that can be pirated, there are various products that are the most commonly pirated materials. This could either be because they are easy to pirate or because it’s what people most commonly use illegally. The most commonly pirated content is pornography, with 35.8% of all pirated material. This is closely followed by movies, totalling 35.2%. Then there are TV shows, software, and console games. Although music is also commonly a victim of online piracy, it is not as common as the other materials listed above.

In the USA on average after a film is released, it will only take 12 days for it to appear somewhere illegally online, showing how much of an issue online piracy really is. In most cases it is possible to quickly and easily find a pirated version of a film to watch for free on the web. In many cases the filming is very bad quality as sometimes people will bring a video camera directly into a cinema and record the film in the theatre. Yet despite the fact that there may be someone standing up or coughing throughout the film, some people still prefer to watch this for free than buy a legal copy.

The main problem is that piracy has now become a social norm. People don’t think about the consequences when they watch illegally streamed movies or listen to illegally streamed songs. However, if someone saw someone else steal a physical item from a shop then this would be a completely different story. On average, someone has illegally downloaded some form of media at some point in their lifetime, with many people doing it multiple times. With piracy happening at such a large scale, the biggest question is how can this possibly be controlled.

As soon as a way to stop piracy is developed, people come up with a way around it. Technology continues to develop and those that pirate property develop with the technology, making it very hard to come up with a foolproof way to stop it. There are so many different platforms online where people can use pirated goods, there is no way that the authorities can track down every single website that provides it. Plus, as soon as one has been removed from online, then another one will take it’s place.

When someone is making unauthorised copies of someone else’s work, you are essentially taking something of value from someone else without their permission for your own gain – this is stealing. The law gives severe penalties for those caught reproducing, selling, or distributing unauthorised copies of goods. A lawsuit could hold the pirate responsible for thousands of dollars in damages, in addition to getting a felony record, up to five years jail time, and fines of up to $250,000 depending on the severity of the crime.

Recently there has been a large crackdown on online piracy, yet the ease of performing this crime is working against the authorities and there is still a long way to go before it’s eliminated for good.

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