Piracy. Piracy isn’t a clear-cut topic to talk about, especially when intellectual property is concerned. So much debate continues to swirl around what piracy is, how it works, the benefits and damages it causes.
Is piracy damaging authors, the music and film industries? It is to be assumed that it does. Publishers, producers and executives would probably argue there is no question about that.
Paulo Coelho says in his blog “A good idea doesn’t need protection”. He argues the more people ‘pirate’ his book the better. It
means the author’s voice is being reached out to a much larger audience. If a reader is given a chapter of a book to read and takes a liking to it, he/she is more likely to buy it. Is reading a few pages of a book in a bookstore piracy? and lending your favourite book to a friend to read?
A response replied to Coelho’s post was Paulo’s success came during a time where online piracy wasn’t as rampant as it is now. Coelho says his book sales continue to grow, even now, reaching over 140 million copies world-wide.
ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement), SOPA (Stop Online PIracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) have been put forth to prevent piracy and counterfeiting — not without opposition. On 18 January 2012 Wikipedia chose to black out the English Wikipedia for 24 hours in protest. Facebook, Google, Reporters Without Borders, Human Rights Watch and several others were also against the anti-piracy laws as such laws would severely inhibit people’s access to online information.
Regarding the film industry, piracy is considered to be a major threat to box office and DVD sales. Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, has been reported saying “internet piracy means less money to make movies”.
However, while internet piracy, potentially, poses a large threat, box office sales in the US, in recent years, have grown substantially and continue to grow to record highs. Studios are hardly in risk of losing money or in nearly as much trouble as they would have you believe, David Chartier reports in Ars Techinca.
The music industry is also at battle with piracy. The crux of the matter is more people benefit from freely duplicated music. Musicians gain a much larger fan base and get their music heard and distributed by many more people. Touring is how musicians make the bulk of their income, anyway. A Forbes article gives an example of this.
Kristin Thomson, Co-director of Artist Revenue Streams Project and Consultant, and Ann Chaitovitz, then-FMC (Future of Music Coalition) Executive Director illustrate 29 streams of revenue for artists. Album sales being only a part of how artists earn their living.
There should a differentiation, though, between counterfeiting and piracy. Daniel Dilger points out that nobody benefits from counterfeiting besides the counterfeiter, while the same can’t be said about piracy.
The IT Crowd: Piracy Warning:
Wikipedia blacking out their English version website:
The conflict behind SOPA: