Beyond Legality: Why Piracy Is An Ethical Issue
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Beyond Legality: Why Piracy Is An Ethical Issue

In a democratic population, the majority wins. But if 70% of online users think that there’s “nothing wrong” with piracy, does that mean piracy is right? When people start treating online piracy as the norm, then the issue is more of an ethical and behavioral problem that revolves around entitlement, self-restraint, patience, and respect. Here’s why.

1. Watching a movie is a luxury, not a necessity.

Too often blinded by today’s exaggerated sense of entitlement, this is what most film piracy supporters forget, and has bred a sore lack of self-restraint. Here’s a quick reality check: films, like other forms of art, have a price. Can’t afford to go to the movies? Too bad, go and find something else to do while hoping a friend of yours will buy the DVD and lend you a copy. If no one has a DVD copy for you to borrow, then wait for the film to be available on cable TV or on free streaming sites. If it’s still not available, then move on with your life. It’s a matter of accepting that certain things can’t be yours if you don’t pay the price– unless you’re a kleptomaniac or a thief.

2. The need for instant gratification does not justify theft.

It has been acknowledged that the movie industry has a serious service problem when it comes to satisfying their digital age customers in terms of delivery, distribution and business model. But while consumers have all the right to complain, it does not give them the right to steal copies of the movie just because they can’t wait for the release date in their area. If you can wait for the newest version of the iPhone to be available in your area without stealing or buying imitation iPhones, then you can do the same with movies. Being impatient does not justify copyright infringement.

3. People think online piracy is a “victimless crime.”

One of the biggest arguments between piracy supporters and copyright protectors is the “you wouldn’t steal a car” analogy. Piracy supporters argue that if a person steals a car, the car is physically taken away from the owner, which leaves the owner without a car. Meanwhile, if you download a movie illegally, the movie file itself is not removed from the owner since you only took a copy of it. Hence, nothing is practically “lost,” prompting people to conclude that online piracy is a victimless crime and should not be compared to theft. However, this argument misses the essence of stealing: it goes beyond the act of separating the physical object from its owner. Rather, it’s the ultimate display of utter disrespect and disregard of ownership. Cars and films may be different kinds of properties in terms of tangibility but the rule is the same in international copyright protection: everything depends on the owner’s volition.

The next time you’re thinking of illegally downloading a film because you simply “must have it” without asking permission or paying for it, ask yourself: isn’t that similar with the conduct and the mindset of the common thief? Respect the creative minds behind your favorite movies and TV shows, and say no to piracy. Pay your dues as a customer, a consumer, an audience, a fan. Getting involved in a copyright infringement case is not worth the trouble.

Copyright Collections LTD holds several film copyrights, helping creative industries in the field of film look for infringing acts such as the illegal distribution of copyrighted material. By pursuing those who use unlawful file sharing, Copyright Collections LTD aims to aid artists in protecting their creative hard work and intellectual property from online pirates.


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