OverviewMedia piracy, more frequently referred to by more specific terms such as software piracy, music piracy, and movie piracy, refers both to:
- The practice of illegally copying a source work (software, music, movie, or other)
- The idea that such copying is morally equivalent to (traditional) piracy, which is presumed to refer both mass theft of valuables and tangible harm to the copyright holder
There seems to be a rising tide of opinion that calling such copying "piracy" or even "theft" is a serious overstatement of the situation, as media "pirates" do not typically brandish cutlasses, board oceangoing vessels without permission, or deprive owners of the use of their belongings (much less their lives) – although some of them do own parrots.
It should be noted that although such copying is often illegal, this fact should be considered in the context of some additional facts:
- The media industry often played a major part in both the wording of the laws in question and in ensuring that those laws were passed by (no-doubt perfectly legal but most un-democratic) financial persuasion of the appropriate officials.
- Certain types of copying are legal, at least within the United States, under the doctrine of Fair Use.
- The media industry often makes no distinction between legal and illegal copying in its efforts to prevent so-called piracy.
- At least one law has been passed in the United States which was supposed to adequately compensate music companies for "illegal copying" of their works, i.e. the tax on all blank burnable CDs labeled for "music" use; the industry continues to fight against copying, and yet this law is still in place. (Can't find the law in question, but see private copying levy [W] and Chapter 10 "No action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright ... based on the noncommercial use by a consumer ... for making digital musical recordings or analog musical recordings." of US Code Title 17 for possible leads.)
- Copyright holders often employ various methods of copy protection to physically prevent (what they believe to be) media piracy, i.e. illegal copying of their intellectual property.
- 2011-07-18 [L..T] Finland's Internet service provider refuses to block The Pirate Bay In May, copyright holders sued Internet service provider Elisa, one of Finland's largest, to get the provider to block access to torrent site The Pirate Bay due to charges of media piracy. Finnish public service media company YLE reports that Elisa refuses to comply with such claims, however, citing the technical difficulty of compliance.
- 2010-03-24 [Talk|Index] ACTA Draft: No Internet for Copyright Scofflaws § “The United States is nudging the international community to develop protocols to suspend the internet connections of customers caught downloading copyrighted works, according to a leaked draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement.”
- 2009-11-20 [Talk|Index] Britain's new Internet law -- as bad as everyone's been saying, and worse. Much, much worse. § “Peter Mandelson, the unelected Business Secretary, would have to power to make up as many new penalties and enforcement systems as he likes. And he says he's planning to appoint private militias financed by rightsholder groups who will have the power to kick you off the internet, spy on your use of the network, demand the removal of files or the blocking of websites, and Mandelson will have the power to invent any penalty, including jail time, for any transgression he deems you are guilty of.”
- 2009-07-13 [Talk|Index] Stephen Fry: 'I Use Illegal Download Sites' § “Stephen Fry has defended illegal downloading and admitted filesharing a television show starring his former co-star Hugh Laurie. ... "Making example of ordinary people is the stupidest thing the record industry can do," he told a London audience.”
- 2008-01-04 [Talk|Index] 'Piracy' is Often Fair Use, Study Says § “When homemade videos appear on YouTube bearing snippets of copyrighted works, is it piracy or fair use? Much of what gets tagged as the former is actually the latter, suggests a new study from the Center for Social Media at American University's School of Communication. The study, Recut, Reframe, Recycle, says that new forms of creative satire, commentary and other homegrown videos are being inhibited by industry-imposed filtering standards and legal threats that fail to fully consider the boundaries of fair use.”
- Organizations pursuing piracy claims:
- Lawyers defending against piracy charges:
- TruthMapping: Copyright infringement is not theft
- 2007-08-21 Malaysia Awards Medals to DVD Sniffer Dogs
- 2000-09 $$ The Heavenly Jukebox: "Recent coverage of the spread of "contraband" music on the Internet has missed some basic points. Chief among them: the fight against Internet piracy is being led by a peculiar and grasping business -- the recording industry -- that should not be allowed to set the rules." (subscription required for access)