Should we be Concerned About the Effects of Online Piracy

29 Nov

There are many differing views regarding piracy. On one extreme are individuals who think pirating content is perfectly acceptable and a way of modern life. On the other extreme are those who feel that pirating anything online is theft and acts of doing so should be punished in the same manner as when physical property is stolen.


Pirating Laws Need to be Enforced

 Copyright is essential for business success. It allows companies and individuals to create work without fear of it being copied and distributed illegally. The current laws in Canada are very vague in stating what is and what is not acceptable in terms of pirating. The act of pirating content online is causing significant losses to the economy. Ipsos/Oxford Economics stated that more than $1.8 billion and 12,600 full-time equivalent jobs were lost across the entire Canadian economy in 2009-10 as a result of movie piracy alone. When the question was put forth to our class if we had ever pirated something, every single person raised their hand. Over 75% of Canadians admit to pirating something in the last year alone. This is problem that will not go away unless laws are enforced. The Canadian government has begun taking steps to remedy this by passing Bill C11 (Copyright Modernization Act), which is the fourth effort to revamp copyright law in Canada in the last seven years.


Piracy Isn’t Something We Should Worry About

 The new generation of consumers seems much less worried about the effects of piracy and for the most part feel that online pirating is a perfectly legitimate means of obtaining music, movies, and television shows. This is in part because the new generation of teens and young adults, have so many new interests but rarely have the money to partake in all of them. We are in an era of instant gratification, which lends perfectly to pirating online. It can be argued that piracy is helping new artists become discovered as their talents are more easily shared. The loss of revenues to artists because of decreased record sales is being more than made up for in revenues generated by putting on live shows and concerts. Celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Common are actually supporting free file sharing so that more is made available for the masses. Adobe actually broke fiscal records in 2011 with revenues of $4.21 billion being reported despite their Creative Suite being the most downloaded software being torrented 5-7 million times. The economic effects of pirated music and movies is grossly over-exaggerated because there has been no adequate way developed to actually quantify the effects over the whole industry.


My Conclusion 

I think it is time that industries begin looking at ways to prevent pirating from occurring as opposed to legal enforcement after the fact. It should be a proactive and not a reactive approach to the problem. If there were a simple solution to the situation then the problem would not be as visible as it is currently. It comes down to the fact that pirating is indeed theft and should be viewed as theft. People need to be educated about it and the negative impact it has on the different industries. Individuals work very hard to produce software, music, movies, etc. and do not deserve to have it taken from them without compensation.


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