The term piracy might make one have images of a peg-legged ship Captain brandishing a sword and an eye-patch on the salty seas, but this is far different from the more relevant battle between media consumers and the media industry. Online piracy is the newest and more discreet form of illegal plunder that is happening millions of times every day worldwide via the internet. It is the downloading of media for free; the ability to click the mouse and get basically any television show, movie, or musical album that you can imagine for no cost at all. It is not impossible to track and take legal action against each individual “pirate”, but it is difficult and near impossible to effectively regulate. The two main factors that caused the emergence of online piracy are because online downloading is the fastest and easiest way to obtain a form of media, and although it is illegal, it is statistically very unlikely that you will be prosecuted in a court of law. Before online downloading it was much more time consuming and difficult to obtain the desired media you wanted to buy. If you wanted to purchase your favorite musicians CD, for example, you would either have to drive to your local business and hope that they had the CD you were looking for, or order it from an online website and wait for it to come in the mail. Since online downloading has become available this task has been reduced to the clicking of a mouse and a few keyboard strokes. As internet shopping has had a direct impact on local businesses of any industry, this is no different for media stores. Small media businesses no longer have to only compete with the big businesses and franchises, but also with internet pirates as less people are flocking to stores to purchase their media. The same technology (media downloading) that has the ability to make the massive media industry grand profit is now the one thing that is cutting that profit down on a massive scale. A leading North American...
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