International Software Piracy Disclaimer The ideas and arguments presented in this paper are provided solely for purposes of academic discussion. The author wishes to make it clear that he neither condones nor promotes software piracy in any form, and that he encourages all software practitioners to familiarize themselves with the relevant intellectual property laws of their respective countries and to adhere to the highest level of ethics in the conduct of their professional duties. I. Background Software piracy has been around since the beginnings of personal computing. The first paper tape of a BASIC compiler passed from one hobbyist to another was essentially pirated software, although, at the time, it may not have been recognized as such, and in fact, may not even have been illegal.
The American Heritage Dictionary defines piracy as “the unauthorized duplication of copyrighted or patented material.” It is a problem that affects companies all over the world. Piracy of software, movies, and music is commonplace in China. China has the second worst piracy rate in the world; about 92 percent of the software in China is pirated (Williams 2004). Various companies and governments have attempted to combat piracy, but they had not seen much success until recent years. Combating piracy is a difficult task, especially in a country that has a history of not enforcing intellectual property laws.
Reuters. (2009, October 18). Software Pirates in China Beat Microsoft to the Punch. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/19/business/global/19iht-windows.html
Software Piracy: A Worldwide Problem Software piracy is defined as the illegal copying of software for commercial or personal gain. Software companies have tried many methods to prevent piracy, with varying degrees of success. Several agencies like the Software Publishers Association and the Business Software Alliance have been formed to combat both worldwide and domestic piracy. Software piracy is an unresolved, worldwide problem, costing millions of dollars in lost revenue. Software companies have used many different copy protection schemes.
With the boom of technology in China and the new capitalism ideas, China also has a huge piracy problem. According to the International Intellectual Property Alliance's 2003 report on China, the piracy problem in China creates $1.85 billion in 2002 alone with 90% piracy rates for all copyrighted materials.5 This piracy problem affects negatively on China's global relations and economic improvements. China's current copyright laws are still in its teenage years, and the fast pace of technological advancement isn't helping either.
Modern piracy has touched nearly every corner of the globe and has increased with globalization. The tentacles of piracy now extend from South America to the South China Sea. The greatest numbers of piracy incidents occur along maritime commercial trade routes. Since China dominates the world’s container shipping industry, the South China Sea has become a hotspot for piracy (Kraska 2011). The prominence of cargo activity increases opportunity for pirates and indisputably triggered the sixty- nine incidents of piracy that were reported in 2009 in the South China Sea (Kraska 2011).
Intellectual Property and Internet Piracy With the emergence of the Internet, intellectual property faces a new dimension of crisis. Intellectual property has become an even more significant issue because of that. According to World Intellectual Property Organization, “Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.” (WIPO 2003) Works online are easy to be copied/reproduced or altered such as art work, software, and articles. Although piracy has existed for a long time, the Internet has made piracy never been easier with a click of mouse.
The Escalation of Piracy Copyright laws were created in the late 1700s to protect authors from having their work reproduced without their consent. These laws have been in effect ever since in most parts of the world and have done little changing to keep up with the times. Piracy is the unauthorized use or reproduction of copyrighted or patented material. Piracy has been an issue for many years, but is gaining more and more press recently because it is getting out of control.
The subject of my paper focuses on movie piracy. Movie Piracy by definition is the illegal copying of movies for personal or commercial use. This is a new epidemic that is affecting the film industry financially on a global level. What are the necessary steps that can be taken on behalf of the film industry that can stop this illegal practice from occurring? Once you walk down the city streets of New York, you can easily find vendors selling their bootleg DVD copies of new released movies for half the price of a movie ticket. At the moment the quality of the movies aren’t at its best, but with the technological advancements, the quality of these bootleg DVD’s are getting better, which means that movie piracy is actually on the rise. This continues to worry both film studios and copyright activist. Movie companies are the ones suffering the most from this illegal practice. While they continue to produce $100 million movies, their profits continue to fall, when people decide to either pick up a burned copy or download the movie off some illegal Internet site. This essay takes a look at the different forms of movie piracy and what different organizations, such as the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) and its international counterpart, MPA (Motion Picture Association), are doing to combat this illegal practice.
Against Illegal Downloading At the dawn of the internet, many things such as books and text became obsolete, due to insufficient monitoring of internet activity and sites. Individuals were able to gain free access to books and publications that normally needed to be bought, or required a fee. This is something that has caused problems for booksellers and publishers. Now, as technology advances, it also begins the decline of music, software, and television industries—but something can be done before it’s too late.