The Most Overlooked Crime: Piracy Essay

1158 words - 5 pages

Internet piracy is not a victimless crime. Piracy is a term used to describe the illegal downloading of music, movies, games, and even software online. Although many people don’t feel that piracy is a crime that affects anybody, it really does. People pirate stuff online because it is free and does not require one to run to a store to get their product. People that pirate these things don’t think of the repercussions that go along with it. You can have to serve up to 10 years in prison, and pay a fine of $250,000.
Online piracy is a huge problem, one which costs the U.S. economy between $200 and $250 billion per year, and is responsible for the loss of 750,000 American jobs. These numbers seem huge: $250 billion per year loss would be almost $800 for every man, woman, and child in America. And 750,000 jobs – that’s twice the number of those employed in the entire motion picture industry in 2010 (Freakonomics). In 2010, the Government Accountability Office released a report noting that these figures “can be substantiated or traced back to an underlying data source or methodology,” which in English means these figures are legitimate and that piracy really does hurt our economy.
There are a lot of people who download music and movies without paying. The main reason that this is such a big issue is because piracy substitutes for a legitimate transaction; for example, someone who would have originally bought a DVD of the movie Young Guns but instead downloads it for free on The Pirate Bay. In this case, the person pirating the movie or song would never have bought it. This happens frequently if the “pirate” lives in a relatively poor country, like China, and is simply unable to afford to pay for the films and music he or she downloads.
Being that internet piracy results in a lost sale, that means the lost sale affects the job market. If a recording company isn’t making all of the money that it should be (due to online piracy) then its employees aren’t able to get paid the full amount that they should. This in turn lowers that recording studio’s ambition to work hard at putting out good music, because all of their revenue will be lost due to piracy. Many artists see piracy as beneficial to their musical career however, because it allows listeners to preview the music before buying. These artists hope people downloading their albums for free are satisfied with their work and decide to purchase them to show support.
Some artists that support piracy are 50 Cent, Bob Dylan, Chris Brown, Counting Crows, Green Day, Kanye West, The Offspring, Shakira, and Will.I.Am. While researching about artists that don’t oppose piracy, I ran across a quote from Will.I.Am. He stated, “Piracy should not be a bad word. I don't call them pirates. I call them promoters. If I were the King of Spain, they would be my Christopher Columbus who found new land. I make music and pirates spread it on the Internet. The record companies shouldn't chew them out, but rather embrace...

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