Advances in science and technology during the 20th century have accelerated and eased the limitations of data flow across the globe. During the early 20th century Media, such as movies, music, and video games could only be purchased and shipped on cassette and compact discs. In the last 10 years we have witnessed the virtual age where all of these mediums are now stored, sold and streamed over the Internet by a simply clicking a submit button. Breakthroughs in data storage, streaming, and ease of information access have become the driving force that enables data to be transferred across the globe within seconds with a simple button click. The ease of access for media has allowed companies to sell their products all over the globe and open up their businesses to consumers that may not have been reached through the typical brick and mortar store. With advancements in technology also comes the advancement of data theft. When does ease of data access open the doors to advanced intellectual property theft and media piracy? How common is piracy and what are some of the reasons that some mediums are pirated more than others? What are the impacts of online piracy? In this paper we will define online media piracy, what laws govern intellectual properties and discuss some of the reasons that some mediums are pirated. Next, we will go into detail about some reports compiled on piracy and determine if they are accurate or colored. Finally, how does online piracy affect the
consumer, business, and intellectual property owner on a global scale and what are some of the ways that the government and business are trying to combat media piracy. First, we must understand what piracy is. Piracy can be defined as “the unauthorized use or reproduction of copyrighted or patented material” (thefreedictionary.com). It is important to understand that not all forms of piracy are reliant upon access to the Internet. Backing up of copyrighted media, such as movies, music, and video games can be considered piracy based upon some consumer licensing agreements. To simplify the paper topic we will only be addressing the online piracy of intellectual property, such as video, music, and video games. In addition, the focus of the paper is piracy occurring over the Internet because the World Wide Web allows anyone, on a global scale, complete and easy access to all types of media data. The first topic of discussion is why are intellectual properties such as video, music, and video games pirated? The reasons as to why intellectual properties are pirated can be complex and one specific reason cannot outweigh the other, however, several common factors are present based on the following GALLUP poll dated March 1, 2005 (see fig. 1). Figure 1: GALLUP Poll - Factors in purchase of an imitation or counterfeit product. SOURCE: GALLUP. Brand Piracy: A Victimless Crime? Web.
Based on polling individuals on piracy and placing the responses in bar graph form you can see that there are several reasons that consumers’ access pirated media. The leading reason with 78% of polled results (see fig. 1) felt pirated goods were more easily or readily available. With a global population of approximately 7,017,846,922 people, nearly 2,405,518,376 people are connected to the Internet (“Internet World Stats”). That is nearly 35% of global population having the ability to access pirated media through torrent sites and peer to peer exchange groups. Another factor that the poll discovered was that price was a consideration when determining to buy the product legally or to illegally pirate the media. When you compare the staggering 68-75% (see fig. 1) figures weighing in on the monetary side of the media purchasing decision and with global trends in recession and record levels of unemployment and poverty and factor in the rising cost of software and media you can quickly come to the assumption that a portion of the population simply cannot afford...
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