In today’s technological age and consumer-driven economy, it is not a surprise that media piracy is a big business. It is estimated that in one year $12.4 billion worth of business is stolen from original manufacturers by media pirating. Piracy, the illegal copying or counterfeiting of copyrighted material, is a major problem for a vast range of industries (Ang, 2001). For example, just in the recorded music industry, “music pirates account for almost $300 million in lost record sales annually in the United States” (Gray Zone, 2002), and that is just in the U.S. More is lost in foreign markets. This not only affects the media manufacturers but also the consumers of the media. They become the victims of piracy that ultimately result in the driving up of prices of legitimate products. Distributors and retailers have been affected, too. Nearly forty percent of the retail market’s business has been stolen (Gray Zone, 2002).
Before we begin discussing the piracy of music, television, and motion pictures, it is important to understand what exactly piracy and counterfeiting is and the laws that prohibit them. Counterfeits, referred to as pirated media, are defined as “reproduced copies that are identical to the legitimate articles including packaging, trademarks, and labeling” (Ang, 2001).
To protect the creators of original material from being pirated, laws were formed known as copyright laws. A copyright is “a protection that covers published and published literary, scientific and artistic works, whatever the form of expression, provided such works are fixed in a tangible or material form” (Copyright, 2002), and with copyright protection, the creator of the original material has the “ex...
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...ilable online: http://www.cable.mediapiracy/hawkins/cablemonthly/2000/7845332.html (accessed October 24, 2002).
Gray Zone (2002). The Federal Anti-Piracy and Bootleg FAQ. Available online: http://www.grayzone.com/faqindex.htm (accessed September 26, 2002).
Gross, Lynne, and Schafer (1995). The International World of Electronic Media. McGraw-Hill, Inc.
Internet News (2000). Artists Against Piracy Launches National Media Campaign. July 11. Available online: http://www.internetnews.com/ec-news/ (accessed October 30, 2002).
Newsweek (October 21, 2002). Heard on the Street.
Rodmen, George (2001). Making Sense of Media: An Introduction to Mass Communication. Needham Heights, Ma: Alyn & Bacon.
What is Copyright Protection? (2002). What is Copyright Protection? Available online: http://www.whatiscopyright.org/copyright.html (accessed October 31, 2002).
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