Concepts and Types of Internet Piracy
Recently, the society and mass media have started initiating discussions related to the issues of intellectual property. In fact, the emergence of these issues is caused by an increase in the availability of illegal content on the web. Transferring of audio content in a digital environment creates a real threat to falsification of these works and illegal dissemination. The problem of illegal downloading is a relevant issue because piracy brings huge losses to authors and recording companies. The goal of theessay is to analyze the most common problems and consequences of the illegal downloading and identify their solutions.
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People need to understand that internet piracy is an illegal activity of the dissemination of media content, which is, in most cases, protected by copyrights. Violation of intellectual property rights can be documented when there is a prohibited act, which adversely affects the creative industries (Hunnewell 22). Piracy in relation to goods that represent intellectual property is an issue of a global importance. In fact, the losses due to illegal downloading reach hundreds of billions of dollars worldwide. The internet identifies several methods and groups of people that distribute illegal content (Hunnewell 23). The most common type is the use of torrent trackers that provide access to all kinds of illegal media files. For such people, all that is immaterial should be distributed free of charge. Thus, they post media content in the sharing services without getting for themselves any benefit (Hunnewell 35). The objectives of these individuals are incomprehensible because in this way they only hurt favorite artists. Besides, there are persons who make money on the pirate content (Riley 42). They pour the stolen files on the various file-sharing services and give the affiliate links to the customers. Thus, such fraudsters receive money from the number of downloads. There are also people who are engaged in semi-legal activities (Riley 42). These actions take place on the forums on topics with the same intention, namely to get a certain number of people who collect money for some product and make a purchase of one copy for all. As a result, a group of people can pay pennies per copy, and a respective copyright holder incurs losses (Riley 52).
The Consequences of Internet Piracy for Artists
An illegal distribution of media content is an unethical procedure as well. Piracy on the Internet creates enormous problems for the artists. In fact, authors suffer massive losses because potential customers download their products from pirate resource and do not buy them through the official network resources or physical media (Schwabach 34). Besides, the partners do not want to promote products and invest in the promotion of material, which is already on the network. Sometimes, customers who ordered a product by mail with payment on delivery, refuse to buy it, because they already find it on the internet (Schwabach 47). As a result, the author could lose motivation to create new albums, and find himself or herself standing on the brink of bankruptcy. In fact, selling goods on the internet is an important source of income for any artist. However, the resulting profit is never going to the author in full amount. Artists spent their money from sales to recording, promotional company, tours, audio equipment and salaries to their management and technical team members (Torr 55). Moreover, the damage is done also to the users who download an illegal content, because often when a person receives product free, he or she treat it’s giddily and inattentively (Schwabach 62).
The Consequences of Internet Piracy for Culture
As a matter of fact, piracy leads to low investment into new talents. Increasing the number of people that use illegal content makes the process of supporting young performers as less profitable operation (Riley 35). Thus, investments in new groups are becoming increasingly rare, which, in turn, has a negative influence on music production volume and at the development of culture in general (Torr 59). In fact, the investment in the cultural sector of any country can be much more promising and remain safe over the years if investors design an adequate legal system for the protection of intellectual property rights and effective mechanism to ensure these rights (Torr 62). If any of the elements of the formula is not available, the state loses the ability to attract such investments and develop domestic cultural industries. Besides, piracy cuts jobs, most of which are in the record industry and other institutions that are associated with the distribution of music. Finally, illegal downloading causes the state tax losses, because governments usually get large sums from the big labels and recording studios (Torr 64).
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Measures of Internet Piracy Prevention
Some people consider that any activity on the internet is allowed if an authority fails to take certain measures to stop it. People also know that is difficult to obtain the actual evidence of this phenomenon (Jaishankar 22). In general, the fight against torrent trackers and file-sharing networks is carried out in many countries with varying degrees of success. States build different strategies to prevent illegal downloading of media content. In some developed countries, government resorts to a number of effective methods (Jaishankar 45). In France, there is a law named Dadvsi, which deals with issues of copyright, according to which government charges a fine of up to €300,000 and the punishment of up to three years in prison for the distribution of pirated content. In the UK from 2010, users who illegally download content receive warning letters, but if the copyright infringement continues the internet provider can limit the speed of internet access or completely close access for some time (Jaishankar 52). It is also possible to get a fine of up to £50,000 if the user illegally downloads content and uses it for other commercial purposes (Jaishankar 59). In February 2013, United States accepted the Copyright Alert System, developed by the internet service providers back in 2011 in the framework of the agreement on piracy confrontation (Jaishankar 62). According to the system, if providers see the fact of illegal downloads of products, they sent up to six warnings to a user or provide sanctions if they noticed further illegal actions after warnings. Therefore, they can reduce the speed of the internet, conduct an explanatory conversation about copyright or take other punishable measures.
Punishable Measures for the Internet Pirates
Torrent trackers and their founders have been persecuted by authorities since 2004, when Finland government closed Finreactor, most popular sharing website in the country. As a result, the court ordered the seven site administrators to pay a fine of more than €600,000 as compensation for damages. (Jaishankar 56). The court's decision regarding Finreactor set a precedent, after which different states have begun prosecuting the creators of file-sharing websites. The most well-known trial of this kind took place in 2008 in Sweden, where the founders brought to justice the world's largest torrent tracker The Pirate Bay (Torr 54). The four founders of the project were sentenced to one-year of a correctional facility and a total fine of $3.6 million. After the Court of Appeal in 2010, the fine was increased to $ 6.5 million (Jaishankar 72).
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Legal Content Distribution and Users Awareness
Currently, the legitimate digital music market is growing rapidly. A wide range of legitimate online services, as well as the possibilities of new technologies, encourages more and more people to use them instead of illegal downloading (Schwabach 62). Such popularizations of various music services clearly indicates a trend of increasing demand, so the potential for legal digital music market is huge. An example of this tendency is the success of an online database - the iTunes store, which has sold more than one million songs in the first four days (Schwabach 72). Furthermore, artists tend to enjoy more revenues from singles rather than albums (Schwabach 68). However, the development of digital music business is more dependent on the internet users. The rapid advancement of legal digital music market is only possible thanks to the high awareness of users. They must understand that the concept of illegal downloading is bad, and most of the time it seriously hurts the artist. At the same time, content creators offer a sufficient amount of content in the public domain, so people should support them and ignore piracy (Torr 70). Consequently, to reduce the ubiquity of piracy and illegal downloading, people should respect the rights of artists, music publishers, and only such actions could ensure a steady development of this industry.
To sum up, the internet piracy is an illegal activity on the dissemination of media content, which is in most cases protected by copyright. The internet discerns several groups of people that distribute illegal content. The most common methods involve people posting the media content on various sharing services or platforms without getting for themselves any benefit, and individuals that make money on the pirate content. An illegal distribution of media content is an unethical act, due to which authors losses their potential customers, and partners do not want to promote the material that is already on the internet. Nowadays, countries design numerous strategies to prevent the illegal downloading of media content. Those include the acts of warning, disconnection from the network, fines, and criminal responsibility for site owners. It is worth mentioning that today one can note the popularization of a plethora of legitimate digital music services. All in all, people should respect the rights of artists and avoid the illegal downloading to ensure the further development of the content creation industry.