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Digital Piracy – Give Me the Gold

High Tides 

ARRRRRR MATE!!!!!……*cricket*…..Let us begin.

….Digital Piracy is a form of copyright infringement that basically uses the holder of the copyright’s benefits to reproduce, distribute, play or perform the copyrighted work without benefit to the author. This is particularly prevalent in the developing world in such countries as Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, and most of Asia because there are low incomes, high demand for media, and relatively inexpensive digital technologies that lead to the spread of piracy into emerging markets. Digital piracy is specific to any form of information (audio, video, print, etc.) that can be digitized. Typically, this is music, movies and software; and because copies do not typically deteriorate in quality, they can become available in huge numbers over file-sharing networks. In the words of Biggie Smalls, “GIMMIE DA LOOT, GIMMIE DA LOOT!!”

Most of the research on the subject finds that there are five major reasons that motivate individuals to engage in digital piracy:

·        Unavailability of the product – In many cases, there are no legitimate outlets that sell certain digital products at the time users want them. Although this is less common now that there are more Internet connections at higher speeds; there are at times geographical restrictions and even problems with online distribution of certain goods.

·        Pricing of the product – A huge motivation is price. A legitimate copy of a DVD new movie, for instance, can range from $20-35/US and can be pirated for 1/10th of that cost and still make money for the pirate.

·        Use of the product – Sometimes, certain products come with region locks or other security devices embedded that make it difficult to use in certain areas – also making the product more desirable to users in those areas.

·        The Shopping Experience – Sometimes, legitimate services require credit cards, PayPal or above board fiscal shopping experiences. Some people either do not wish to participate in this, or cannot.

·        Anonymous Nature – Digital piracy does not require any identification (website, email, etc.) and keeps the user or the pirate off the grid.

Sail at Will

Globally, experts have varying estimates on how impactful piracy is in the digital age. In the early part of the century, estimates were that sales of illegal music accounted for about 15% of the total market; and by2008 had outstripped th

Internet-Piracye sales of genuine products in much of the EU’s overall purchasing of genuine product – or 10% of music sales and 16% of motion picture sales.

Interestingly, technology improvements seem to exacerbate and contribute to digital piracy faster than they do to techniques to prevent piracy. Digital piracy involves interactions between individuals – usually social interactions in which people share music or videos they particularly like. One British music producer noted:

The latest cultural import from America is the hard-drive party. It involves takeaway pizza, beer and the swapping of the contents of 500 GB hard drives, packed full of thousands of muHomer_Simpson_Sideart_Homebrewsic tracks. My own neighbour, resolutely middle-class, with two young children at a church school, proudly told me last weekend that he has 80,000 classic tracks on a drive he got free from a friend. At a rough guess, that’s £60,000 of stolen music.

…Pizza…..beer…..Homer Simpson would be proud…

Digital piracy, though, is not just taking money from artists and developers – it has a profound implication into modern morality and ethics. Nicholas Carr, for example, notes in his book The Shallows that the Internet is reshaping human thought in both assumptions about logical connections and morality. Because of the Internet, humans are more likely, says Carr, to move from an ethic of study, hard work (the Protestant ethic, if you will), and diligence to one of a rapid, “distracted sampling of small bits of information from many sources.” To do this also then implies the ability to grab and go with music, information, software and entertainment because these things are seen as transitory, not long-term possession that have intrinsic value outside of the quick and easy entertainment value.

Prepare to be Boarded

Digital piracy is one of the clearest and most apparent examples of modern cybercrime. A 2011 study on the Global Information Security Workforcein fact, found that securing copyright and other forms of information had become so critical in most organizations that there is now a shift and movement towards more alignment between the public and private sectors. Still, when there are billions of dollars at stake, millions of potential “pirates,” and millions of users demanding product, many believe that piracy is here to stay. Certainly legislation is not the answer – it doesn’t work. Most younger experts believe that the real problem is the outmoded (Pre-1998) model of marketing and pricing. To fight piracy, says one journalist who specializes in the subject, “Treat your customers with respect, and they’ll do the same to you. And that is how you fight piracy”. Contrary to that however, authors like Neil Gaiman feel that internet piracy can also work to the artist’s advantage, by means of bringing awareness to his/her particular works and ultimately improving sales. Pizza anyone?

How do you feel about internet piracy?


About bellera

Student at Fordham University


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