April 26th, 2013
In our generation today, there is a great deal of sharing files over the internet, whether it be music, movies, documents, or any other kind of media file. The sharing of copy-written material or patented material over the Internet is called Internet piracy, and it is illegal. In the words of Beverly Storrs, “Piracy is the use of another person’s idea, product, or invention without their permission, which is an infringement of a copyright.” The interesting thing about Internet piracy, though, is the fact that it is only a problem of our generation; fifteen years ago, Internet piracy didn’t exist. However, this issue is still as controversial as anything introduced a hundred years ago. There are people who debate whether it should really be against the law. The media has greatly debated this topic; however, they have only hit two points of the argument, while there are more debatable topics on this issue. The media does hit the main topics: why online piracy is illegal, and why people still do it. However, what people don’t know is how it affects the entertainment industry, how it affects the artist, and the different arguments to SOPA and PIPA; two online censorship bills. There are many different arguments and ways to look at this complex issue, which has been at the forefront of computer politics for years.
ONLINE PIRACY: There are many points of view other than support for Internet piracy and protest against Internet piracy. The main points of each opinion are important to establish.
Obviously, there are many people that support Internet piracy, since there are so many people that do it. There are many reasons why people partake in Internet piracy; the simplest and most common reason is because they don’t have money, or they do not want to spend money on music, movies, or books. People would rather just download their favorite album or movie for free because it is easy and just as accessible as it would be if they were going to purchase it. Many people think that downloading a song won’t really hurt the artist or industry because it’s so quick and easy. What they don’t know is that every song downloaded does hurt the industry a lot; millions of songs are downloaded annually through piracy resulting in huge losses in profits for record labels. Many people pirate, instead of purchasing, even though they know that it hurts the entertainment industry. They think they are only hurting big businesses, who people think, make millions of dollars and won’t be affected if one song is illegally download. Other people pirate content with the belief that “everyone does it”; “if everyone does it, why is it wrong if I do it?” Downloading music today is also very convenient because of torrents. Torrents are files that people can download via sites such as PirateBay and Kickasstorrents. These torrent files can contain anything in them, at any quantity. People can torrent full movies, full discographies of bands, full books, and even full series of TV shows at the click of button; it’s too easy. Although, one of the strongest reasons why some people are okay with online piracy is because, technically, they are stealing an exact copy of a product. If you were to purchase a CD and upload those songs to a pirate website, your computer copies the song and uploads that copy, so it’s not “technically” stealing. An example given by Storrs is, “If I steal a car, I steal a car. If I pirate a car, in the morning they still have a car. The only difference is I have one too.”
Against Piracy: There are many people who are against online piracy. The music and film industries as well as many artists are against online piracy. But why are they against it? As explained before by Storrs, “Piracy is the use of another person’s idea, product or invention without their permission, which is an infringement of a copyright.” Piracy is stealing. Most big