Many internet users today are accustomed to downloading copyrighted contents such as music, movies, books and softwares from the internet. Illegal downloading provokes various economical and social problems. I wonder, are they even aware of the criminal implications of it?
How it is uneconomical
One of the reasons to strengthen the protection against piracy is economic issue. According to The New York Times, in the U.S., the total amount of damage from illegal downloaders reach an estimated of 58 billion dollars every year and the damages include more than 373,000 employee job loss, and $16 million loss in employees’ earning and $3 billion of federal, provincial and municipal tax revenue. According to the statistics found by Recording Industry Association of America, it is not only the artists who are affected by music piracy but also includes songwriters, recording artists, audio engineers, computer technicians and etc.
Furthermore, The amount of damage through illegal downloading comes back to the consumer again. Even after technical protection measures have been placed on the contents, the computer professionals were still able to destroy them and upload the files on the web. Thus, no matter what recording companies and many other entertainment companies do to protect their intellectual property, people will somehow remove the protection and download the files. As the number of consumers who buys illegal product increases, the extra software cost such as copy protection increases to protect piracy, which then increases the product cost. Ultimately, we will be paying more than what we should for one product. Exploiting other people’s hard work and effort is not only morally wrong but it causes serious damage to the economy as jobs are lost from it.
How it is unethical
The artists, producers, movie directors and other staff members spend years working hard, putting all their effort and much money in developing and completing the product of their work. However, if the pirates steal their products, the creators lose millions of dollars instantly. The rightful owners who have the intellectual property have the right to make profit that was produced through the selling of their products, because it is the rightful compensation of their hard work. However, if someone else other than the product creators earn money through illegal downloading, I think it is one of the most serious social problems in this country.
One of the Viacom executives said, “If intellectual property developed by creative people and covered by copyright was as respected as intellectual property developed by engineers and protected by patents, this problem would greatly improve”.
We can change
The easiest way the government can do to protect the piracy is educating people and enforcing the law. I remember what my friend told me when I said I bought a new video game when I was young. He told me I could download it online, however he was young at that time and did not know that it was illegal to download games at the file-sharing sites even if he paid. Perhaps, this is why the content piracy has been developed. we all know that stealing at any store is not allowed and therefore we do not do it, however people pirate online contents because they do not understand the seriousness of this crime due to the fact that many people do it. We all need to educate ourselves and our neighbors to achieve for better online community.
Illegal downloading is a result of the development of internet and improper use of someone’s work. As many people work hard to create and produce movies, musics, and other products to make our lives more entertaining and enjoyable, that we should thank them and compensate them properly for all their work.