Social Media and Piracy

pirateSocial media has changed the way we communicate and  the way organizations advertize. However, the benefits social media provides us with ie: posting and sharing videos, photos etc., may actually result in the illegal act of copyright infringement. This act although illegal may actually benefit the owner of the material in return.

Copyright is a form of legal protection. It provides owners with exclusive rights to: duplicate the copyrighted work, distribute copies of the work to the public either through sale/lease/loan/or rental, as well as use the copyrighted item for personal advertising.

Currently social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube enables users to share or distribute copies of music videos, video clips, photos and articles on the social media platform, each of which makes social media fun to use. As a result of social media platforms being patronized by millions of individuals, many organizations have implemented social media pages and sites into their marketing strategies; which if not done correctly, may result in the organization facing copyright infringement liabilities.

Oftentimes businesses post content online, that is not their own work. They do this to generate more leads and to make their marketing campaigns more interesting and diverse. Here’s an example of how one can breach the copyright law. Imagine you own a restaurant and Leonardo DiCaprio comes in for dinner, he takes a photo at your restaurant and posts it on Facebook. Excited about this, you utilize the photo in your marketing campaign either online, for example on your Facebook page, or in a restaurant brochure. By using the photo without permission or without giving credit to Leonardo DiCaprio, who is the official owner of the photo, you are actually partaking in the illegal act of piracy.

Based on a class discussion, the following segment describes the benefits associated with piracy, as reflected in my previous post “Piracy: Free Advertising or an Illegal Act”:

  •     “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 and shown in my previous blog post “Piracy: Free Advertising or an Illegal Act” :

  •  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.

Thus, although piracy is illegal, it can benefit the copyright owner. However, caution must be taken when utilizing social media sites for advertising or distribution of material.


U.S. Government Recognizes Benefits of Piracy | TorrentFreak . (n.d.). TorrentFreak | Torrent News, Torrent Sites and the latest Scoops . Retrieved December 12, 2012, from

Cushing, T. (2012, September 7). Three Artists On Piracy: Sharing, Disruption And Turning Filesharers Into Your Street Team | Techdirt. Techdirt.. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from

Sanford. (n.d.). Copyright Infringement Risks Associated with Using Social Media. IRMI Risk Management and Insurance Education and Information. Retrieved December 12, 2012, from


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s