A Detailed Analysis on Digital Piracy in The Contemporary World

  A Detailed Analysis on Digital Piracy in The Contemporary World

Author: Roudro Mukhopadhyay, OP Jindal University.


Digital piracy rates continue to be growing, indicating that further analysis using new methods is required to assess the problem.In periods of advancement in technology, the industry generating digital content experiences a hard time regulating the delivery of their copyrighted content in use. Demand and availability for digital content are increasing rapidly each year and suppliers still need creativity.

As content is being produced and broadcasters and operators charge a premium for delivering it to their audiences, hackers will still be trying to take advantage of the supply-demand relationship to turn it towards their own advantage in the form of Piracy.[i] Digital piracy is the practice of reproducing, utilising or sharing, without the consent of its lawful owners, material items in digital formats and/or using digital technology. Digital piracy gave birth to hacking. Software hobbyists started to clone and share hardcopies of computer applications and games in the mid-1970s. These geeks, who later became known as hackers, subscribed to the ideology of sharing and free access to computer knowledge.[ii]For the music, movie and the gaming industry, digital piracy is a big threat. While the nature of digital piracy entails unauthorized copying or dissemination of hard copies of digital works, the extent of this practice has been put on a global scale by online digital piracy. Latest figures show that internet piracy online has already cost billions of dollars in damages globally for each respective sector.

The worldwide phenomena of peer-to-peer file sharing and cyber piracy has been created for over ten years since Napster reached the Internet. Piracy has since thrived by fulfilling the demands of the public for quick, inexpensive, and easy-to-access entertainment. It also has somewhat of an immunity to the relentless campaigns against it the power of piracy as none of them seem to work. The film industry must take note that piracy will indeed continue to rise among its clients, causing it to adapt its business model as companies, not CEOs, are shaped by market demand. And customers have recently developed into the on-demand” generation on the Internet. When they want it, where they want it and if they want it the Internet will provide users with their content.[iii] Apparently digital piracy costs nearly$71 Billion every year to the industry.

There was a long war against piracy in the recording industry, which brought a tremendous number of losses to the recorded music business. By suing illegal sites and unlawful consumers, the brands have sought to strike back. Apple was then the first company to start helping the market rebound with legal music streaming, but a free offering was impossible to compete with. Piracy figures for 2019 indicate that over 1.2 billion tracks were illegally downloaded during the year. The price being the most common reason for illegal download of music was tackled with the rise of streaming services. Not only did the idea of music streaming change the consumer’s attitude away towards music ownership, but it was able to combat piracy at the very same price point: free. Streaming competes with piracy by offering a superior consumer interface with a more structured and customised product — usually via a free ad-supported tier or a paid subscription.[iv]

The gaming industry is challenged by the recent influx of pirated video games across the Internet. The initial video-game and the pirated variant are usable counterparts where a video-game programmes is digitally decoded and repeated. While the gaming industry is seriously worried about the prevalence of pirated video games, economic analysis suggests that only when direct network externalizes are high will the negative consequences of piracy (lost sales) be cancelled by business growth. This is largely because a data-set on illicit economic activity is difficult for researchers to create.[v] More than 35% PC gamers pirate, which is a lot, and has resulted in a loss of about $74 billion dollars to the industry. Digital rights management (DRM) has arisen as the solution to the copyright problem for video game developers. Valve’s industry-leading PC wireless video game store, Steam, connects all games to DRM. The user must start Steam and have an internet connection or play in “offline mode” in order to play a game using Steam. This prohibits access to the game connected with that account through users on other machines. But a false barrier exists for DRM. Invariably, hackers smash the DRM and unleash the programmes and it is invariably robbed by pirates.

France implemented an innovative demand-side strategy in 2009, more formally known as the Hadopi Regulation, called the three-strike law. For the first two unauthorised file sharing infringements, this phased solution strategy includes formal notices given to persons and legal action only until a third offence is observed. The peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing is protected by the Hadopi Statute. Since October 2010, 2.4 million first notifications, 250,000 second alerts and fewer than 1,000 third alerts have been released by the Hadopi agency. In March of 2013, five big ISPs in collaboration with the film and music industries implemented a similar antipiracy campaign in the US. The so-called US Copyright Warning System is a six-strike set of rules for each detected violation that includes increasingly more informative and threatening warnings. A consumer faces the risk of decreased (slower) operation or a recurrent in-browser warning after six warnings. The Copyright Warning Scheme, unlike the French Hadopi Rule, is a private initiative and does not require automatic legal action.[vi] Serbin (2012) actually refers to this programmes as a method of “six strikes and perhaps you are out”.

For such a dynamic problem as digital piracy, there is no special solution. It is very varied internally, and it depends on a number of variables. Without a question, internet piracy has a detrimental impact on the entire distribution network, all the way to the customer, from the product maker to the seller. There are various options open to internet providers and copyright owners that they may use to minimise and reduce the extent of digital piracy. Although content theft cannot be prevented, you can protect against it and t here have been various protection system comping up and measures placed it has caused billions of dollars in loses to multiple industries. Over the last two years, what may have changed is this which has evolved from what was essentially a hobbyist business to a major crime enterprise with similarly major ramifications for the industry as well.[vii]


[i]Kent, Alex. 6 Ways to Stop Digital Piracy. 8 May 2019, http://www.viaccess-orca.com/blog/six-ways-to-stop-digital-piracy.

[ii]Ingram, Jason R. “Digital Piracy.” The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice (2014).

[iii]Jungels, Sean. “PIRACY AND THE MOVIE INDUSTRY: CHANGE YOUR BUSINESS MODEL NOW OR END UP LIKE THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.” Kentlaw ,n.d,www.kentlaw.edu/perritt/courses/seminar/Sean%20Jungels%20v2.doc.

[iv]Maddahi, Roxana. “Council Post: The Music Industry: From Piracy To Profits.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 10 July 2018, http://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2018/07/10/the-music-industry-from-piracy-to-profits/?sh=18419f6b70f8.

[v]Fukugawa, Nobuya. “How Serious is Piracy in the Videogame Industry?.” Empirical Economics Letters 10.3 (2011): 225-233.

[vi]Arnold, Michael A. and Darmon, Eric and Dejean, Sylvain and Pénard, Thierry, Graduated Response Policy and the Behavior of Digital Pirates: Evidence from the French Three-Strike (Hadopi) Law (May 28, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2380522 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2380522

[vii]Kent, Alex. “6 Ways to Stop Digital Piracy.” TV Platforms & Content Protection, Viaccess-Orca, 8 May 2019, http://www.viaccess-orca.com/blog/six-ways-to-stop-digital-piracy.

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