Easy to do, terrible to have done.
The internet has offered us ways to instantly send and receive any information, any media. Instantly buy and sell anything. It is child's play to download hundreds of songs, games, pictures, and movies with just a few clicks. Unfortunately, this also makes it so much easier, so much more convenient to break the law.
It used to take more thought to commit a crime than to obey the rules. With the invention of the internet and computers in general, some things are almost too easy. It is hard not to accidently or purposefully misuse our privileges.
What is Pirating?
Pirating is basically stealing and either redistributing or reselling copyrighted material. There are four types of pirating that we will cover ("Types").
End User Piracy
This type of piracy is often committed by company employees, often unknowingly. All of the following can be considered 'end user piracy'
- Using one license to install a program on multiple computers
- Copying disks for installation and distribution
- Swapping disks in or outside the workplace.
When you use Peer to Peer services, you allow others to access to your hard drive. This means you are opening yourself up to viruses and identity theft ("Internet").
A large majority of Internet users have unknowingly and illegally committed this type of piracy. They find and download software, music, videos, and other copyrighted material having no idea that they are breaking the law, or knowing but not believing it is a serious offence.
- There are 'pirate websites' that supply illegal material for free download, sometimes in exchange for more material.
- Often, auction websites such as eBay unknowingly sell illegal copies of software, cds, dvds, and games.
- Shareaza, Limewire, Kazaa, BitTorrent and other programs called 'Peer-to-Peer networks' are probably the biggest enabler of internet piracy, as illegal material can be uploaded and downloaded faster and easier than any other method
Occasionally a computer company may sell computers with illegally copied software in order to make buying the computer seem more enticing, and making the package seem to be 'worth more'. Unfortunately this kind of piracy really has little to do with the user, and most have no idea that they will be receiving pirated software.
This type of piracy is the illegal duplication and sale of copyrighted material with the intent of directly imitating the copyrighted product. In the case of packaged software, it is common to find counterfeit copies of the CDs or diskettes incorporating the software programs, as well as related packaging, manuals, license agreements, labels, registration cards and security features ("Types").
Is it really wrong?
Would you steal a CD from a music store? Software from an electronics store? A computer? A painting? Probably not. So why would you steal these exact same products from the internet (Kalning)?
You may not think you will get caught, or that even if you do, you will just get a warning. But this is far from the case. Currently, the price for copyright infringement and piracy ranges from $30,000 to $150,000. On top of that, if there is criminal prosecution, you may recieve up to five years in jail ("Internet").
It is simply not acceptable for ISPs to turn a blind eye to the piracy on their networks, which is at such a rate that there are 20 illegal music downloads for every legal track sold. Record companies have licensed more than six million tracks to over 500 legal services and consumers can now legitimately get access to music online in a wide variety of ways (Reuters).
What are the Alternatives?
There are now many websites online where you can legitimately buy and download music and software at the click of a mouse. You no longer have to go to a store, but you still pay.
- Software Alternatives
How can we stop this?
When you illegally download you also begin illegally uploading. Not only are you a customer, you are a vender.
When you illegally download you also begin illegally uploading. Not only are you a customer, you are a vender.The best way to prevent pirating is to first make sure you are not knowingly doing it, and then inform those around you and help them to understand. Finally, if you know you have something pirated, you should consider either buying it or finding a free version. Don't forget the helpful links above to get legal products. Those that put effort into their work should be rewarded, not cheated ("Internet").
Found pirated software, games or movies? Report it, and help stop the pirating crisis. The following link will give you everything you need to take down a pirate.
There are always alternatives, and it is important that you do your part. The internet is a great and powerful tool that must be treated carefully, with responsibility. The greater possibility for greatness, the greater the possibility to be misused.