In the late 1990s, most homes and organizations began to receive Internet access. In correlation, many features became available to Web including the fact that files of any type could be downloaded with ease from any source quickly and often for free. The film and music industries felt that the availability of the Internet was posing a large threat to their business model. It was so easy to obtain a song or even an entire movie clip with a click of a mouse. Software and books could be had for “free” as well. It was a common misconception then that these files were available for the taking without needing to pay for it and also without any worry of penalty. In turn, many otherwise “innocent” individuals would obtain this copyrighted content for free. Of course, for one, the industries behind the works affected immediately made the public aware of this problem and have done so for a while. Second, more people knew downloading copyrighted content was wrong than those who were truly unaware of the legality of these actions.
It is now the end of the first decade of the 2000s, and piracy is an even bigger problem today and it keeps growing. The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) as well as the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and their members claim, rightfully so, that thousands of jobs are lost, millions—if not billions—of profit potential vanishes and the people who diligently take part in the production of the works of these industries do not see as much reward due to piracy. Although almost any type of intellectual property that is in a digital form faces the potential of being pirated, such as stock photography, it is software, music and movies (deemed “Multimedia” for the purpose of this report) and books that fall victim to piracy most often. These three areas will be the topic of this paper.
Since the inception of the personal computer, piracy and software has been a problem faced by many software publishers. In the early days of the modern computer, virtually all computers had a floppy drive, and program's executable and library files were seamlessly transferred from the hard drive or the software diskette to a blank floppy disk. Friends and colleagues would then get access to the costly software free-of-charge, or worse, multiple copies would be made of that program to later be sold for a fraction of the retail price, with the publisher seeing none of the money. It was already becoming a problem in the early 1990s, that the Software Publishers Alliance had produced a promotional video, Don't Copy That Floppy, to spread awareness of the implications pertaining to pirating software. A similar promotional video, Don't Copy That 2, was released in 2008 as a reminder, mainly targeting the younger generation and college students.
Today, physical copies are still of concern, but the digital...