In an age where information is right at our fingertips, it’s not hard to believe that some people would try to use that to their advantage. According to a 2014 study of online piracy in Australia by Creative Content Australia, pirating film and television content online is increasing, with 29% of adults admitting they actively pirate. In fact, when I was researching these statistics, I attempted to find some from 2016, and I was met with this:
- Screen Shot 2016-09-07 at 12.52.42PM by Ben Quigley (CC BY 2.0)
Just trying to find the most recent statistics on the piracy rates in Australia gave me a link to stories on how to pirate in Australia. At this point it seems endemic to our society that we as a nation have not yet outgrown our criminal roots.
The internet seems to move at such a breakneck pace that often legislation is created in a reactionary way. In terms of piracy, it seems like the go to weapon against illegal online sharing is website takedowns. Unfortunately, it’s not as exciting or as cool as a professional wrestling takedown (but man, how cool would it be to watch Napster fight it out with Metallica in a cage match?). Essentially, a takedown involves blocking access to a website that according to legislation is providing content that breaches copyright law. This might seem like a logical way to tackle piracy, but it could also be breeding a stronger class of pirates.
In the case of copyright infringement, technical protection measures stop users with limited computer skills, but push the technically savvy user to find a work-around. As a result the illegality is driven further underground, making it even more difficult to detect and deter. (Meyer & Van Audenhove, 2012, p.367)
Government efforts to halt online copyright infringement through regulation are misdirected. It places crosshairs on the end user’s downloading as opposed to taking a step back and trying to understand why users resort to downloading. (Barkachi, 2014 p.24)
So, here’s the question that I want to ask. Is this method of fighting piracy creating stronger pirates?
Barkachi, P 2014, ‘Copywright in the Internet Age’, Policy, Vol. 30 Issue 3, p21-26, retrieved 5 September 2016, Centre for Independent Studies, EBCSOhost.
Meyer, T & Van Audenhove, L 2012, Surveillence and Regulating Code: An Analysis of Graduated Response in France, Surveillance & Society, Vol. 9 Issue 4, p365-377, retrieved 5 September 2016, SocINDEX.