Digital Media Piracy Joey Duong and Branden Versluis
What is Piracy?
Software piracy is the illegal copying, distribution, or use of software
For example: computer programs, multi-media (audio, video), documents, or electronic books.
Why do people pirate?
How does it work?
It is done through the process known as File Sharing
It distributes or provides access to software
There are three types of file sharing
Peer to peer (P2P)
One of the most popular options when downloading small files
Users will download a program that will link peers to one another (ie: Limewire)
If a user is looking for a specific file, they just need to look it up on the program and can simply download the file from a person who has it
Somewhat similar to P2P but generally deals with larger files and a more complex system
Rather than share files through computers, a user can simply upload a file to a site
A person who decides to download a file will simultaneously be uploading parts of the file they have already downloaded
One of the simplest and newest ways to distribute files
Users simply download an uploaded file from a server
Same process as when downloading free software (screen savers, pictures, ect)
Other illegal activities
Although not as widespread as pirating, two other illegal activities are Bootlegging and Counterfeiting
Bootlegging is the unauthorized recording of either an artist's live concert or of a live performance broadcast on radio or television.
Bootlegs usually do not include the name or trademark of the performer's legitimate recording company.
As of January 1996, it became illegal
Counterfeiting is the unauthorized duplication not only of the sound recording but also of the graphics, including original artwork, logo, trademark and packaging of legitimate recordings.
Impact on Music Sales
In 2003, legitimate record sales reached $32 billion US
Conversely, pirated sales amounted to $4.5 billion US
A 2004 study by economists Felix Oberholzer and Koleman Strumpf concluded that music file sharing's effect on sales was "statistically indistinguishable from zero".
Similarly, a 2006 study published by Industry Canada has concluded that file-sharing has no measureable effect on the sales of CDs.
The $4.5 billion in pirated sales would not necessarily equate to potential sales
Some people may only be interested in a single song which would warrant them from buying an entire album
Impact of Piracy
Some studies have shown that the illegal downloading of media have been damaging the economy
Others have stated that pirating is not the primary cause of decline in media sales
Overall, opinions on this matter are mixed
Legality of Pirating
“ Courts have ruled that consumers have the right to copy any recording from the original copy, even those they do not personally own. This consumer right has been extended by the courts to include peer to peer downloads. Downloading files is not illegal, however uploading them is.”
Technically, users who download via BitTorrent, are always uploading files which would mean what they are doing is illegal
Legality of Pirating (cont.)
The CRIA, representing 95% of Canada’s music industry say Canada needs to toughen up copyright laws.
"The law that is currently on the books -- that's enforced -- is so antiquated that the net result has been, despite all of our best efforts, Canada's become a piracy haven."
Legality of Pirating (cont.)
Law enforcement tend not to get involved with users who download for recreational use
The main concern are people who distribute pirated products with the intent to make profit
Actions taken against Pirates
Internet Service Providers are able to monitor activities that are carried out by clients
If the client is found pirating software, they are able to cancel the subscription but no legal action can be taken
Actions taken against Pirates
Some media companies have been known to track files that have been uploaded to sites
By tracking these files, they are able to determine the IP address of the downloader and find their whereabouts
Actions taken P2P
One of the most well known cases were the trials involving ‘Napster’
Napster was the first p2p site and was launched in June of 1999
The RIAA, Recording Industry Association of America, filed a lawsuit against them in December 1999
At the time of the lawsuit, Napster was not well known
The lawsuit gave the site much publicity
Millions of people began to use Napster
Two years after the lawsuit, Napster was forced to shutdown
Napster had to pay $26 million in fees
After filing for bankruptcy, a company known as, Roxio, purchased it and transformed Napster into a subscription site
To this day, it is now owned by Best Buy and is one the largest online music stores
Actions taken against BitTorrent
A popular site known as Mininova was shutdown in November of 2009
Mininova was a site based in the Netherlands
It had over 1.3 million torrents (files) in their database
In May 2009, the BREIN organization began a civil procedure against Mininova
Months later, the court ruled that Mininova must remove all copyrighted files
The owners had to remove 99% of their files
Mininova is still active to this day, but only contains roughly 9000 files
Most of these files are uploaded by lesser known bands
Although both Mininova and Napster have been shut down by officials, there are still many sites that provide copyrighted material
Canada's 1 st anti piracy conviction was in December 2008. Richard Craig Lissaman was caught filming the movie, Sweeney Todd.
Recording movies in theaters can now lead to up to 2 years in jail.
In the case Capitol v Thomas, the defendant was charged $222,000 in damages
The defendant uploaded 24 song files (with a retail value of $23.76)
The judgment was later overturned as being "wholly disproportionate"
Bill C-61, was a bill to amend the Copyright Act that was not passed due to the 2008 elections
It was to clarify what constitutes copyright infringement in regards to piracy and personal use.
A similar act may be passed at a later date
Basics of C-61
Copying for personal use would be legal as long as:
Citizens did not retain recorded programs for extended time.
Are not backups of DVDs (can only be of video cassets in format shifting)
No "digital locks"
Transferring of media occurs only once per device owned by the purchaser of the original copy while retaining the original copy.
Are not of shows broadcasted with "no recording" flags
Failure to comply will lead to:
$500 fine for music downloads
$20,000 for severe cases
When tampering with the digital lock:
$100,000 and/or 5 years in jail for indictable offences
$25,000 and/or 6 months in jail for summary offences
Canada and the World
“According the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Canada has the highest per capita rate of unauthorized file-swapping in the world.”
“ 50% of movie pirating comes from Canada…with a large percentage occurring in Montreal.”