Film piracy is one of the most lucrative forms of intellectual property theft in the United States and in the rest of the world. Movies are illegally copied, reproduced, and mass distributed in different ways such as in replicated DVDs or through the Internet for financial gains. Piracy is an act of stealing and it “includes the unauthorized copying, distribution, performance or other use of copyrighted materials” such as movies and television shows (Motion Picture Association of America).
These practices result to negative impacts on consumers, the film industry, and to the whole economy. No matter how enticing are the reasons why people support pirated movies, film piracy remains to be a punishable crime for it is equal to stealing the properties and hard work of other people. Therefore, people who produce and distribute pirated movies for illegal purposes should face the consequences of their actions. Reasons Why People Engage in this Crime There are several ways how to pirate films.
These movies are produced either by recording inside the theater, post-production leaks or leaks from an awards screener, stealing film print, stealing legitimate DVD prior to official date of release, or by ripping a legitimate DVD of any protective code (Treverton 37). These stolen copies of the movies are then burned or replicated in more DVDs or uploaded in the Internet without the consent of their original owners and then sold at cheaper prices or distributed for free.
Despite being prohibited by law, film piracy is hard to control because many people instantly benefit from it. The people behind the business earn a lot from pirated movies because they do not have to buy the copyrights of the movies or pay royalties. Despite having lower qualities at times, buying pirated movies appeals to consumers because they can get films for free or for a very cheap price. “The low prices of pirated films compared with the legal ones make the former very attractive to buyers” (Treverton 31).
Consumers who have limited budgets would prefer to buy pirated movies or download illegally from the Internet than to spend the money in cinemas. But these are only temporary benefits and in the bigger picture, film piracy causes more harm than good results. How Film Piracy Harms Pirated movies gain support from those who see them as answers to financial burdens. But many people remain unaware of the how movie piracy actually contributes to the sufferings of the whole country’s economy and film industry.
These people do not recognize the importance of not supporting the products of piracy. The economy loses a lot of money annually because of the organized crime of intellectual property theft. Each year, “motion picture piracy costs the U. S. economy more than $20 billion” and because of the illegal reproduction of films, lesser income is earned by the movies and lesser money is contributed by the movie industry to the country’s economy (Grover and Shields). Piracy is also one of the biggest threats to film and music industry.
The whole entertainment industry suffers from this crime. “The global film industry creates more jobs, more entertainment choices and more opportunities for the creative professions” and because of piracy, lesser opportunities are given to film production because budgets for discovering new talents, artists, directors, and production staffs are limited and restrained by the lack of budget (MPAA). There is a big possibility for the value of film making to decline and maybe even completely crash.
Consumers will also suffer then because, aside from getting little for the money they invest in illegal products, they are also contributing to the wealth of people who have not really worked hard for the film. When the movie industry loses money to piracy, the costs produce quality and meaningful films and shows also become more expensive. Punishments and Consequences Piracy equals theft. Therefore, it is important to have laws created to protect the copyrights of films and television shows. “These laws help safeguard the creative works that support the livelihoods of the 2.
4 million Americans who work” together to create quality films for the entertainment of consumers (MPAA). The enforcement of laws makes copyrighted movies valuable and pirating these products makes them known as stolen properties. Many critics of the anti-piracy law and other laws related to copyright violations believe that the anti-piracy bill has harsh repercussions. Critics of anti-piracy laws believe that the punishments for acts related to piracy are too severe at times because lengthy prison terms and huge fines await those who will be caught involved in movie piracy.
“First-time violators can be sentenced to up to five years in prison if the camcording was committed for financial gain or commercial advantage and fined up to $250,000” (MPAA). Critics say that there should be a limitation for the consequences of reproducing materials such as films. But for the industries that are affected by this crime, they need greater enforcement of laws because their lost sales continue increasing as consumers retain access to free music and movies on the Internet (Grover and Shields). Conclusion Reproducing copyrighted materials such as films are prohibited by laws.
Piracy is a form of theft and many people profit a lot from stolen works. It has become a problematic dent in the film industry because movie outfits are hurt by this illegal act. Apprehenders are not easily caught and are not always given their rightful punishments. Purchasing pirated movies or getting them illegally from the Internet may seem like a mild offense for an ordinary person. But if this crime is done in volume, the negative consequences of movie piracy are proven to be detrimental to those who are part of the industry of film making because the act already translates into theft and a violation of another person’s rights.
Works Cited Grover, Ronald and Shields, Todd. “Movie-Piracy Websites Shut Down by Raids. ” 30 June 2010. Web. 23. Aug. 2010. Retrieved from < http://www. bloomberg. com/news/2010-06-30/movie-piracy-web-sites-shut-down-in-coordinated-raids-by-u-s-officials. html>. Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Frequently Asked Questions. 2010. Web. 23 Aug. 2010. Retrieved from < http://www. mpaa. org/contentprotection/faq>. Treverton, Gregory F. “Chapter Three: The Shape of Counterfeiting and the Example of Film Piracy. ” Film Piracy, Organized Crime, and Terrorism. California: RAND Corporation, 2009. Print. Pp. 27- 38.