prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Modern Day Pirates Run Into Trouble

Posted by prof e on April 21, 2009

Pirates, pirates and more pirates

Pirates have been  making a lot of headlines lately. Jack Sparrow has become a bankable asset in Hollywood. Somalian pirates have been on the prowl off the eastern coast of Africa stirring up trouble. If you’ve been watching the news you know that several Somalian pirates were dispatched last week by Navy Seal snipers. But it is the third photo of modern day pirates that is most applicable to discussions of media and society because of the issue of intellectual property (IP) rights. The pirates in the third picture are the founders of The Pirate Bay, a BitTorrent tracking website that connects file sharing parties. Recently they were convicted by a Swedish court of assisting in copyright infringement and sentenced to one year in prison and fined $3.6 million.

Media piracy is an ongoing problem for media companies. Music was the first media format to experience widespread piracy but movies, videogames and other media are also “shared” by both friends and strangers. People who wouldn’t think of shoplifting don’t bat an eye at the thought of downloading media without paying. Somehow the idea that media companies and content producers make plenty of money becomes justification for behavior that, despite its illegality, does not seem to be slowing.

Whether or not you view IP infringement as theft may depend on your place in the content food chain. If you’re a content producer (or hope to be one in the future) you may be more inclined to view piracy as theft. Here’s what Sir Paul McCartney had to say about the Pirate Bay verdict. Link to Sir Paul McCartney


4 Responses to “Modern Day Pirates Run Into Trouble”

  1. Tayler Zinanti said

    I personally do not agree with copyright infringement. I do not think that media piracy is right and buy my music either from itunes or buy the CD. On page 79 of the Media and Culture book, a quote by Gene Munster, music inustry analyst, says, “Our best guess, is that for every legal song download there are 75 illegal downloads.” This is a very high number, but not shocking considering the amount of piracy going on that is known by people.

  2. Vinny Papasedero said

    Cracking down on media piracy is definitely a tough job, especially in the music world. It would be difficult to stop the piracy of music, so I believe our government should work around this trend by making laws that the website, or software companies should abide too. Downloading free music off the web is not a morally injust thing to do in my eyes. Some may view it as stealing, and some may view it as something that is just there for the taking. I do however believe that bootlegging movies, and video games is wrong. Our federal government should be stricter on people who can get movies before they come out. However, this is a bias opinion from me because I am a huge movie/video game buff.

  3. keith berry said

    I feel that media piracy will forever be unavoidable due to it great demand. With so many people wanting it, and in some cases needing it, a method of getting it for free is just a natural outcome. Because there are cases when people cannot afford to purchase a $10 cd or $15 movie, there are many ways of getting free media. I do not consider it theft, only because I feel it helps anyone who is greatly involved in media. Since there is a way to get it for free, more people become familiar with it and are able to choose their favorite actor, songwriter, or other icon in the media. This is free advertising for those creating the media and I feel piracy actually brings more profit to any company because it will make people want to see or hear more and more from it. This will lead to more people getting out to see a new movie, or their favorite music artist in concert, even if they must save their money for a bit to do so.

  4. Victoria Watson said

    THe term “pirate” is an absolute misnomer here, I’m sure you of all people can probably break the origins of that word down for me Dr. Ebersole, and how it applies to copyright infringement and illegal downloads. Nonetheless, I believe that if it were harder to copy these movies, music, games, etc. not as many people would be willing and able to do so. The internet is a form of medium that makes it ridiculously easy to copy, overwrite, download, infringe, among various other illegal activities since so many people are able to do it, and even know what exact websites to download from. I myself have used the bitTorrent sites and even know of sites where there are libraries of P2P share files that require strict membership and those that share are reluctant to allow outsiders in. I say this because no matter what steps or precautions are being taken by big industries to reduce illegal downloads, the general public (especially those who are internet savvy) are 10 steps ahead of the game. There is no real way to stop this unless the government decides to focus entirely on this issue, which i do not see that happening.

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