ITS | Piracy Must Be Stopped! |
Piracy is defined as the “practice of a pirate; robbery or illegal violence at sea” (Collins English Dictionary), but piracy in the media and electronic piracy is a whole different forte. Piracy is the unauthorized distribution and/or reproduction of a creators work without giving back any recognition to the creator. Also, copyright is a legal notion introduced by the United States and ratified by most governments giving the designer of original work exclusive rights to it, typically for a limited amount of time (Cyberbee.com). Most Countries have introduced laws which allow copyright owners to prosecute individuals and/or organizations who infringe copyright laws. These laws mean that piracy is illegal, it must be stopped and by doing so, industries such as the music and software industries, will save billions of dollars. Piracy must be stopped!
Although these Copyright & Piracy Laws are in place, the music industry still loses $12.5 billion dollars each year, 71,060 jobs are lost each year in the US due to online piracy and a whopping 95% of music downloaded online is illegal (GO-Gulf.com, 2011).
In the pre-digital era, people’s ability to take advantage of others creations was limited. It was expensive and time consuming but with the commercialization of the internet in the 1990’s people’s abilities became endless and instantaneous at minimal cost. After the digital revolution (Internet and Electronic file sharing) creators and producers saw the need for a technology that enables the secure creation, management and distribution of digital content, so DRM was born.
Digital Rights Management or DRM is a term used to define any type of technology that’s intention is to prevent, or stop the act of piracy (Layton, 2006). Basically, DRM removes usage control from the person in possession of the digital content and gives it to the computer program. An example of a form of DRM is iTunes. iTunes is a digital media player which allows consumers to purchase and download music at a reasonable price for a single song. This became very popular as consumers in the past who wanted a single song, had to buy the whole album from the music store in order to listen to the one song they really wanted. With the introduction of music stores like iTunes, Music can be bought simply, affordably and safely. iTunes sells DRM-free files yet they still carry a digital watermark to identify the purchaser. This restricts the content purchased to any authorized computers. Many companies, producers and online music stores use DRM to try to prevent the illegal reproduction of their product.
Although DRM slows down users who try to share DRM encrypted files, it hasn’t been completely successful. Some users have developed technology to “crack” DRM encrypted files and bypass usage control restrictions, allowing the user to share their files to whomever they choose. The laws way of keeping up with this, is by introducing the “Digital Millennium Copyright Act” (DMCA). The DMCA is an amendment to the United States Copyright law, which was passed on May 14, 1998 (Copyright Law of the United States, 2012). The DMCA “criminalizes the production and dissemination (distribution) of technology that allows users to circumvent technical copy-restriction methods” (Digital Rights Management, 2012).
The many avenues for piracy include the internet, such as free share websites (e.g. Rapid share, Mega upload & media fire), Peer-to-peer (P2P) sites, hand to hand sharing with friends and/or public, copying and selling/redistributing for you own profit and overseas shopfronts that sell counterfeit products. A peer-to-peer network is an architecture that partitions tasks or workloads among peers. This can allow peers on the network to access each other’s files and peripherals without the need for a central server (Cope, 2002). These