Internet Movie Piracy: A tale of illegal file-sharing in the United States

Stack of DVDsMovies explore the edges of human emotion, freeze culture and show us how creative we can be. So why are people stealing this creativity? The lure to break copyright law to download movies illegally is alluring because advancements in technology create an umbrella of anonymity. These laws are inadequate because there is a lack of enforcement, advancing technology that makes movies a click away, and the aggravated state of reform. Within the following pages we’ll take a look at piracy issues for movies within the United States from the studio and consumer’s side. Technology is facilitating an acceptable bend in the law from the consumer’s perspective, and creating increased difficultly for the movie industry to adapt quickly. Movie piracy laws will remain a grey area for consumers and the industry until the struggle for reform is initiated. If not, we face a whole generation of children growing up thinking its right to illegally download movies. Eli Roth, director of Hostel, said in an MTV interview, “Unless you start an awareness about it that it’s not ok, it’s never going to change.” 

Movie studios saw what happened to newspaper and music, and it’s reasonable they would want to fight for their content. They’ve tried to keep up with pirates by publishing harsh FBI warnings before movies, encrypting DVDs and punishing offenders. But pirates still continue to break down these barriers. Breaking DVD encryption is a game pirates play in an effort to validate a subculture of people. One goal of this paper is to find consumers perception of movie piracy and look at ways to help the industry align better to these perceptions.

What is movie piracy? “Downloading, burning or otherwise obtaining a movie you didn’t purchase.[1]” Movie piracy is a big topic, one which most have likely dabbled in. If you’ve conducted a screening for your church group, or made a few backup copies of a DVD without the copyright owner’s permission, you’ve committed movie piracy. Stealing the physical print, burning a disc for sale, recording while in the theatre and downloading from the Internet, are other more severe forms of movie piracy. Internet movie piracy is by far the most prominent today.

Surprisingly, the US is falling behind in the piracy game, holding only 20% of the losses worldwide against major players like China and Russia. According to a 2008 study The Cost of Movie Piracy, China blames 90% of their potential film losses on piracy. Continue reading


Wanna Dish About Movie Piracy?

From MPAA.orgI want to hear what you think about pirates….movie pirates that is. Help me gather some data for my Digital Media Law & Policy class by participating in my survey. This information will be used to gather ideas about what the average person thinks about movie piracy and how this offense should be punished in relation to other illegal activities. Then stay tuned for my final research paper on movie piracy. Click here to do this quick survey.

Learn more about internet movie piracy by visiting the MPAA.

‘Wolverine’ Leak, Will It Cannibalize Box Office Sales?

Movie piracy issues are escalating. According to the MPAA, “downloading movies without the authorization of copyright holders is a growing international phenomenon, and it has serious consequences.” Legal issues surrounding movie piracy is a media hot topic with the premature leak of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 20th Century Fox‘s new link in the X-Men chain. Within the following paragraphs I’ll outline the impacts of this pirated pre-release by looking from the consumer and 20th Century Fox’s point of view, and then provide an argument against movie piracy while offering an alternative to wet the appetites for those who consume pirated content.

The product of an audience’s love for a mysterious, dangerous and volatile character, Wolverine is aimed to be a successful spin-off prequel and curious journey down a storyline sure to make fans hesitant by its dedication to the comic book. The leak, an April Fool’s joke in poor taste, was released April 1st and subsequently sent the entertainment world in a buzz. Not only was the film leaked early, but it was an unfinished version, leaving room for much skepticism regarding the quality of the finished product. Now reaching over a million downloads, New York Times journalist Jenna Wortham states, “Studio executives are concerned that the crude copy, which supposedly lacks computer-generated graphics and other final touches, could sour potential moviegoers and deliver a crushing blow to the opening weekend’s box office take.” In response to this leak, 20th Century Fox filed a federal investigation. Continue reading

Venting on the Internet Can be dangerous…

I wonder what prompted the Coalinga Record to publish this girl’s rant? They must have questioned whether to publish it or not, knowing it would have some effect on the writer and family. This girl should have kept her pen silent, or posted privately.

Do semi-private posts, for example you need to ‘friend’ someone in Facebook to see their profile, hold the same legal weight as this girl’s public rant? See article: MySpace Diatribe Brings Death Threats.