Piracy: Free Advertising or an Illegal Act

When thinking of piracy, most people recall the tales of Captain Hook or Captain Jack Sparrow; who stole treasures and tortured many. Their actions harmed the masses yet they and their rivals became well renowned.  The tales of a pirate’s actions is very similar to present day piracy.Piracy is a theft, that refers to the act of duplicating copies of a copyright protected item. Items copyrighted can be in the form of movies, videos, games, software etc. Therefore, piracy comes at the expense of artists, however, some may argue that in fact it benefits artists, as their popularity increases with their materials now reaching a larger audience. So is piracy good or bad?

Based on our class discussion, the following are benefits associated with piracy:

  • “What you don’t know, you don’t miss” Present day social media has enabled music and other materials to be shared instantaneously across the world. This poses as a benefit to many artists, especially those who are new in the industry, as their materials can be shared across the globe, thus, increasing their brand image and popularity; which in turn will increase a demand for their materials. However, the likelihood of individuals wanting to purchase material from an unknown artist is slim, compared to those who have sampled the material and grown accustomed to it. Thus, by breaking copyright laws, and engaging in piracy, individuals are able to sample relatively unknown material and by sharing it with friends, they end up making the artist more material (Techdirt, n.d.). This is what has been happening in the entertainment industry. With sites such as YouTube and Facebook enabling individuals to share copyrighted materials, artists have become relatively popular. Some of which ended up becoming famous and getting a record deals (Ex. David Choi), while others became popular to the point where their concerts are now being sold out across the globe.
  • “Steal from the rich and give to the poor” Some argue that piracy provides those without a disposable income, access to information that could enable them to make more money in the long run. As a result of them growing accustomed to this material, their trust in the producer and material would encourage them to purchase the material later on, as apposed to them purchasing material from other producers.

Negative aspects of copyright infringement:

  • Stealing! Copyright infringement is an act of stealing revenue from artists,producers etc., who have worked hard for that money. These individuals have utilized their creativity and skills in producing materials, that through copyright infringement, results in them incurring costs for a revenue that they will not be receiving. As stated in a hot topic discussion in ENTR 3211, over 80% of Canadians engage in piracy. This is a huge percentage of people who are obtaining free material, from individuals who relied on the materials to generate them an income.
  • Job loss  When music is copied and shared online, who will purchase a CD?
    When books are printed and given to friends, who will purchase the book?
    When there is no need for certain things, individuals who would have previously made their income doing that, will no longer have a job. If this were to continue, this could negatively impact the economy as a whole.

In My Opinion….

Piracy is a crime. I do not believe that we should be obtaining information for free and at the expense of others. I know I am guilty of engaging in this act, however, I do feel that if more was done to prevent copyright infringement from being so convenient, less people would engage in it. If artists, producers etc, are unable to earn an income from their work, will they not be less inclined to continue providing us with these materials? I mean, over the years I have realized that many movies for example are just remakes of old ones, so I often wonder if this is because, there is less of an incentive to create something new. I do however feel that if an artist publishes free material online, that material can be shared and make an artists popular; thus, the excuse that piracy makes artists more popular is one I do not fully agree with. So in conclusion, I do agree with piracy!


Three Artists On Piracy: Sharing, Disruption And Turning Filesharers Into Your Street Team | Techdirt. (n.d.). Techdirt.. Retrieved November 20, 2012, from http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120906/18581520306/three-artists-piracy-sharing-disruption-turning-filesharers-into-your-street-team.shtml

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