Justice Being Served

Written by: Hailey Sarsam

10% blog post

It has become a norm among North American society to illegally pirate movies. To pirates there are no consequences in downloading or uploading movies on the internet when no profit or credit is given to the makers. However, many are unaware that internet piracy is copyright infringement. With copyright infringement come consequences. As Internet piracy has become more of a pressing issue for the media industry, prevention has become a concern of higher priority. The industry has lobbied for stricter laws and begun prosecuting (particularly in the United States) providers of pirated content and active file sharers. They have also added software that encrypts content restricting duplication and playback. However, technology is advancing faster than the industry can keep up with, meaning methods such as encryption are unable to prevent widespread file sharing (Goel et. al). This has not discouraged the industry from lobbying tougher consequences though and in countries like the United States they are incredibly severe. If convicted of copyright infringement in the United States an individual may be imprisoned up to five years and fined up to $250,000 (Strauss). If convicted for a misdemeanour in piracy, such as downloading or uploading a small amount of movies without consent, the person would be punished with up to a year of prison and fined up to $100,000. If someone downloads or uploads illegally without consent in a large quantity they can be imprisoned for five years and fined up to $250,000. However these fines can be higher. There are even cases in which the fine is double the personal gain from pirating if money was made, or double what the person cost the studios they stole from (Norkey). Clearly this is a situation the United States is taking seriously as the American film industry loses millions of dollars through internet piracy. According to Internet lobby groups, between 2011 and 2013, 200,000 to 250,000 people were sued for copyright infringement in the United States (Chauvin).

In Canada the penalties are not as severe but still substantial. Bill C-11 imposes a limit of $5,000 on damages awarded for non-commercial copyright infringement. This applies to the average consumer who downloads films (Chauvin). However, effective January 1, 2015 Canadian law changed. The federal Copyright Modernization Act requires Internet service providers and website hosts to send letters from copyright holders to customers with unique Internet Protocol addresses where illegal downloading is alleged to have occurred. These letters are warnings that a copyright holder noticed illegal downloading activity and could sue. Lawsuits could seek up to $5,000 for downloading copyrighted material for personal use and $20,000 for one that led to commercial gain (CTVNews.ca). Models like these are being used to change attitudes toward downloading so the sense of entitlement people have regarding Internet-based theft is eradicated (Chauvin).

Though many believe these are pointless attempts from the industry to resist change and prolong unsustainable business models, these are techniques the industry feels necessary to use to receive compensation for work they have done (Goel et. al). Copyright infringement has serious effects on the industry and to protect product valued by the makers, measures are taken. The best way to avoid these punishments is to not partake in the act; the “pay off” is not worth the risk.

                                                       Works Cited List

Chauvin, Pierre. "Anti-piracy Firm Targeting Canadians Who Download Illegally." The     Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, 12 May 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

CTVNews.ca Staff. "Illegal Downloaders Beware, You May Get a Shock in 2015."               CTVNews.CTVNews, 2 Jan. 2015. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

Goel, Sanjay, Paul Miesing, and Uday Chandra. "The Impact of Illegal Peer-to-Peer File   Sharing on the Media Industry." California Management Review 52.3 (2010): 6-33.           University  of California, Berkeley, 2010. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

Norkey, Trevor. "Film Piracy: A Threat to the Entire Movie Industry (with Sources)."           Moviepilot.com. Moviepilot, 26 Apr. 2015. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.

Strauss, Karsten. "TV and Film Piracy: Threatening an Industry?" Forbes. Forbes               Magazine, 6 Mar. 2013. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.