We are all familiar with the short video clip that plays before a feature presentation in a DVD. It goes: “You wouldn’t steal a car, you wouldn’t steal a handbag, you wouldn’t steal a television, and you wouldn’t steal a movie. Downloading pirated films is stealing… stealing is against the law….. PIRACY, IT’S A CRIME.”
Seems like the creators of this clip wanted to portray a very serious message, doesn’t it? Yes it may catch the attention of some and to these people the questions “How bad is piracy? And who are the victims of this so-called crime?” may arise.
Intellectual Property Crimes involve the illegal distribution and access of trade secrets and proprietary products and parts, as well as movies, music, and software. Movie and music piracy is known as one of the worst types of intellectual property theft. This is because a lot of movie studios and record labels spend years and extra work in developing their products. Once a “pirate” happens to successfully steal their creation and subsequently share it by using the internet, consumers may then have free access to these products. What was initially intended to be sold for profit, and to maintain business, suddenly became free for everyone to obtain. And, as a result, movie studios and record companies could possibly lose millions of dollars.
This threat continues to rise especially with the development of digital technologies and Internet file sharing networks. Added difficulty in controlling these types of crimes is that much of the theft takes place overseas where laws and regulations are often lenient. Some of these companies even produce copies of the physical products (DVDs, CDs, Blu-rays) and sell them on the market as legal material.
To make matters worse, it is known that record labels and movie studios do not actually make money on every CD or movie they release. So imagine, being robbed of your products that you are trying to pay off still (and you worked really hard creating them!). It’s tragic.
Piracy has also produced a wide range of effects on consumers, industry, government, and the economy as a whole. According to a study conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (USGAO), the U.S. government may lose tax revenue, incur IP enforcement expenses, and face risks of counterfeits entering supply chains with national security or civilian safety implications. The economy may then grow more slowly because of reduced innovation and loss of trade revenue.
Movie and music piracy therefore not just affects the artists, singers, record labels, and movie studios. It affects everyone. What we can do now is to educate ourselves and those around us to the true harmful effects of this crime. Many do not realize that many Americans may soon be forced to endure internet censorship in an attempt to control this out of country pirating. It is becoming another case where the crimes of the few are affecting the liberties of the masses.
If you know someone who indulges in pirating you should counsel them to stop. They may think they are only saving themselves a few bucks. However, the penalties for being caught pirating are severe and soon we may all be subjected to internet censorship because of these activities. Also, because of pirating, producers have been forced to drive the prices up. Making most of us help pay for the cost of pirating. Some people saving a couple bucks by obtaining these products illegally is going to cost the rest of us our civil liberties. What price tag would you put on your freedoms? Because the pirates have put a price on our freedoms for their own benefit.