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This page originally created by Krish T. (2020-21)

Piracy is the use of the internet to illegally copy content, which infringes on the copyright of the content owner. This usually happens with music and movies. Piracy has grown in popularity as streaming and technology is becoming more part of our life, some ethics issues arise.

Birth and History[edit]

In it's early form, piracy was done by copying an owned music file or movie on a computer and then burning it onto CD using a CD burner. They were then handed out physically, but this form of piracy and piracy in general were not as popular as they are now. Later on, illegally downloading content from the internet blew up in 1999 as many students found a way to download free music online.

Internet piracy started in 1999 with a P2P (peer to peer) service that lets you download songs for free, Napster. There was a lawsuit for copyright infringement against Napster on December 7, 1999. By February 12, 2001, Napster was no longer able to allow copyrighted music. Napster was then bought by Best Buy for $121 million dollars and was then bought back by Rhapsody (money unidentified) where Napster users would subscribe to Rhapsody. Ironically enough, Sean Parker (Co-creator of Napster) went on to create Spotify in 2006 which is now one of the most known music streaming places to date. After Napster's shutdown, it sparked many more people to try and do the same thing. Many more P2P services started coming up such as Kazaa, and Grokster which were all popular services in there own way, but they all were shut down afterwards. After this, more piracy laws came into place.

Digital piracy first harms the original copyright holders: the songwriters, music artists, moviemakers, game developers, and other creators of new digital media products. They lose money to those who sell pirated content copies cheaper then the real price. Nowadays people would stream them on the internet and load the website with loads of ads that cramp up the screen. When their work is stolen, then it discourages them from doing any more creative work. Heavy amounts of money are lost from this type of crime and since there are more people at home with their devices, there is a higher chance they will start searching for better content online without paying a single penny. Usually tracking down people like these is much more difficult since the owner have to file a lawsuit against the piracy company. There are lots of exploits and many holes in the piracy law so far, so smaller websites take advantage of it and earn a good amount of cash before being shut down. By the time they get shut down, Most people would have already downloaded most of the content. These distributions cannot be taken back once they are released. Some places where you can acquire music, is through Jailbreaking.

A recent notable case of cyberbullying involves several major manga publishers suing the company Cloudfare. On February 1, 2022, four major manga publishing companies released a statement stating that they were filing a lawsuit against Cloudfare. The lawsuit is asking for $4 million total. In the statement released by Shueisha Inc., one of the manga publishing companies involved, they gave their reasons to sue the company. They state that "Cloudflare is one of the largest content delivery network (CDN) providers in the world", "Cloudflare provides its service to 9 of the top 10 malicious piracy sites in terms of traffic as of December 2021" and that "if Cloudflare's CDN service is discontinued, it will be impossible or extremely difficult for many malicious piracy sites to operate" (Shueisha Inc., 2022) Shueisha also criticizes Cloudfares's policies and practices. The lawsuit, if sucessful, does not require cloudfare to change their buisness practices. However, the lawsuit would still have major impacts on manga piracy as a whole. This case has gone to the Tokyo District Court.

Different Types of Piracy[edit]

Movie Piracy[edit]

Movie Piracy takes place when the original copy of a soon to be released movie is leaked. When it is leaked someone take advantage and earns some money off of it. The way it is leaked is through an inside person usually working for the film industry. When they get their hands on this, they release to other people. However, this is a serious crime and can be charged and sometimes go to jail.

Music Piracy[edit]

Music Piracy takes place when someone illegally downloads music without permission. Most music piracy happens from stream-ripping, which is recording music from free services like Youtube. In second, P2P downloads came into play like BitTorrent. There are many users doing this, "in fact, 32% of music listeners use these methods"(Snapes. L & Thomas. B, 2018).

Laws Enforcing Piracy[edit]


  • According to the Canadian Copyright Laws(2020): "Every one commits piracy who does any act that, by the law of nations, is piracy."
  • The punishment will be: "Every one who commits piracy while in or out of Canada is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for life."


  • "Making unauthorized copies of copyrighted music recordings is against the law and may subject you to civil and criminal liability. A civil lawsuit could hold you responsible for thousands of dollars in damages. Criminal charges may leave you with a felony record, accompanied by up to five years of jail time and fines up to $250,000."
  • Examples include: Downloading an app that strips the music from places like Youtube and stores it permanently.
  • If you own a copy of music, but then you put it on the internet for other people to use it.
  • Downloading illegal content from somewhere else and distributing it to more people.
  • Burning copies of content into a CD and produce more and more using a CD burner

Piracy statistics[edit]

The issue of piracy is something than many people do not know about. The following are statistics from Damjan Jugovic Spajic (2022) concerning piracy.

  • "Digital video piracy is costing the US economy between $29.2 and $71 billion each year."
  • "Pirated video material gets over 230 billion views a year."
  • "70,000 jobs a year are lost in the United States due to music piracy."
  • "Annual global revenue losses from digital piracy are between $40 and $97.1 billion in the movie industry."
  • "Illegal downloading of copyrighted materials takes up 24% of the global bandwidth."
  • "126.7 billion viewings worth of US-produced TV episodes are pirated every year."
  • "There were over 190 billion visits to pirate sites in 2018 alone"
  • In 2018, the USA was the country with the most visits to pirating sites, with 17.38 billion visits.


See also[edit]

More ethics related to technology.[edit]