Online piracy

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Online copyright piracy is the practice of illegally reproducing and sharing information on the internet, such as music or software.[1][2]


Nathan Fisk traces the origins of modern online piracy back to similar problems posed by the advent of the printing press. Quoting from legal standards in MGM Studios, Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd., he notes that there have historically been a number of technologies which have had a "dual effect" of facilitating legitimate sharing of information, but which also facilitate the ease with which copyright can be violated. He likens online piracy to issues faced in the early 20th Century by stationers in England, who tried and failed to prevent the large scale printing and distribution of illicit sheet music.[3]:9–10

The release of Napster in 1999 caused a rapid upsurge in online piracy of music, films and television, though it always maintained a focus on music in the .MP3 format.[4][5]


The economic loss caused by digital piracy before the year 2000 is estimated to be worth $265B and in 2004 it was found that 4% of box office receipts were lost.[1]

The groups and individuals who operate piracy websites potentially earn millions of dollars from their efforts. This revenue can come from a number of sources, such as advertising, subscriptions, and the sale of content.[6] While these sites are occasionally shut down, they are often quickly replaced, and may move through successive national legal jurisdictions to avoid law enforcement. These efforts at detection and enforcement are further complicated by the often prohibitive amount of time, resources and personnel required.[7]

Some jurisdictions, such as Thailand and Malaysia, have no legislation in place to address online piracy, and others, such as the Philippines and Vietnam, have oversight regimes in place that have proven largely ineffective.[8]:62–5


Online piracy has led to improvements into file sharing technology that has bettered information distribution as a whole. Additionally, pirating communities tend to model market trends well, as members of those communities tend to be early adopters. Piracy can also lead to businesses developing new models that better account for the current market.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Choi, David Y.; Perez, Arturo (April 2007). "Online piracy, innovation, and legitimate business models". Technovation. 27 (4): 168–178. doi:10.1016/j.technovation.2006.09.004. ISSN 0166-4972.
  2. ^ "Definition of: Internet piracy". PC Magazine Encyclopedia. Retrieved 26 October 2018.
  3. ^ Fisk, Nathan (8 June 2009). Understanding Online Piracy: The Truth about Illegal File Sharing: The Truth about Illegal File Sharing. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-35474-8.
  4. ^ Giesler, Markus (1 September 2006). "Consumer Gift Systems". Journal of Consumer Research. 33 (2): 283–290. doi:10.1086/506309.
  5. ^ Fusco, Patricia (March 13, 2000). "The Napster Nightmare". ISP-Planet. Archived from the original on 2011-10-19.
  6. ^ McCOYD, Ed (January 2012). "Online piracy of publishers' content: a primer". Learned Publishing. 25 (1): 21–28. doi:10.1087/20120104. ISSN 0953-1513.
  7. ^ Scott, Gini Graham (22 March 2016). Internet Book Piracy: The Fight to Protect Authors, Publishers, and Our Culture. Allworth Press. ISBN 978-1-62153-495-2.
  8. ^ Ballano, Vivencio O. (26 December 2015). Sociological Perspectives on Media Piracy in the Philippines and Vietnam. Springer. ISBN 978-981-287-922-6.

External links[edit]

  • Quotations related to Online Piracy at Wikiquote
  • The dictionary definition of piracy at Wiktionary