The film making industry has been evolving ever since its inception, over a century ago. Ever since then, many technologies and means of recording movies have been introduced, some of them have been useful and some others haven't. The history of the industry is very deep, movies have had their ups and downs, and so have studios, the ones responsible for the movies. To this day, the technologies for film making are evolving and changing daily, created opportunities for more people to become part of it and creating a better, more enjoyable experience for the consumers of this branch of entertainment. But, as with any product that costs money, many people believe that it should be free and that paying for it is illogical and a waste of hard earned currency.
Some of those took a step forward in their belief and started pirating movies. They started looking for more ways to get movies for free. So, they created websites and uploaded the movies they got hold of in many illegal ways and let millions watch the movies without paying for them. This has in turn affected the movie industry heavily, As you are surfing the internet you might bump across one of those websites such as Youtubeonfire.com , it might sound like a catchy name but the content is what makes it truly interesting, as I delved inside I found a poorly made website UI design which is an eyesore to many people but it's part of a bigger strategy, the said website allows it's users to stream almost every single blockbuster movie currently out there—for free, no strings attached, no account needed, no information, you pick the movie or search whatever movie you want from the database of the website and just go your way and stream the movie completely free, some in very high quality too while the latest released are not, I can imagine occurring the high quality version of the movie can take some time for the website hosts to get their hands on.
The 'Bigger strategy' I mentioned earlier was being simply hidden in plain sight, a really bad website design can be an eyesore to many people pushing them away but yet attracting the right audience of those who wish to pirate movies not just those who are surfing about, This adds to the protection of the website from being shut down or sued which leads us into the main topic—Movie piracy.
Youtubeonfire proves to be one of the most controversial media sharing websites at the time being and the authorities should really take a step to defeat such an illegal force, many websites like youtubeonfire do exist but however Youtubeonfire proves to the most notorious controversial of them all
But why is it illegal? Instead of paying to watch movies, Just streaming them or downloading them for free sounds like a very attractive offer to take advantage of, However movie piracy is directly link to something called Copyright infringement which is sort of complicated that it can have its own article but we can drag it under a simple definition—“ The use of a piece of work protected by a copyright law without the permission of the work's owner”.
All movies and/or TV Series fall under a copyright protection law by their owning companies to prevent them from being stolen or used incorrectly and due to the fact that every movie is produced and marketed with a huge budget, the directly and in this case piracy violates this policy and affects the owner of said Movie greatly in terms of expenses and profits.
On a side note though copyright infringements and copyright laws do not only apply to movies and/or TV Series but they apply to any online file that falls under a copyright law and that includes things like Music, Software programs, Video games and many more.
Online piracy is considered a real life crime as with every crime, comes various consequences, the illegal distribution of movies in the form of CDs or DVDs is directly linked to organized crime according to the law, on the side of legal consequences piracy can make your device vulnerable to viruses and exploits, and some legal consequences are seriously harsh, if the copyright owner finds about the piracy case and decides to file a civil right against you, the fines can go up to 750$ per song in the case of music.
But it is more than important to state that not every streaming service is legal but not all streaming services are illegal, there are legal streaming services that allow you to watch movies and TV Shows for significant fee such as Netflix and Hulu, you will not face any legal problems or technical problems while using those two services as they are fully legal in addition to protection from viruses and exploits that many other illegal streaming websites make your device vulnerable to.
It is also more than important to protect yourself from legal lawsuits considering piracy not by just not pirating files by also protecting yourself from other pirates invading your network and downloading malicious files, then the piracy case will be linked to your network and the pirate would easily get away with it—you can avoid that by ensuring you have a stable security in your Wi-Fi network and not go your way and pirate things yourself because as mentioned previously a lot of pirated files out there are infected with viruses that make your device vulnerable to be taken advantage of by suspicious people, this problem is a part of a bigger topic called being secure on the internet which deserves an article on its own but however, we are discussing piracy.
The first file-sharing copyright infringement lawsuit in the USA is called “Capitol Records Inc. v. Thomas Rasset” where the defendant called “Jammie Thomas Rasset” was a liability to the Planitoff Records company for making 24 songs available for the public for free on the Kazza File sharing service and was ordered to pay 220,000$.
Other legal consequences can evolve to enormous amounts of money in addition to five years in jail if you are an illegal distributor
But still as I have mentioned previously-- many people ignore the morality of the problem and still pirate although fully knowingly that it is a crime and consequences that are supposed to drag those people back to legal streaming websites such as Netflix and Hulu, many surveys on a bunch of different websites showed that 57% people still chose to continue pirating movie even when they know how harsh the consequences can be and that the risk of piracy is worth it—so it seems that it could be a matter of a more stable security than a matter of spreading morality at this point in my own opinion.
Whilst some are aware of the crime of piracy some others are not and might unknowingly commit so as streaming movies for free is an attractive offer—as mentioned previously.
So, internet providers in the UK are currently working on an educational awareness program to educate and spread awareness of consumers of the consequences and collateral damage of piracy and help prevent as they have also blocked one of the most notorious movie streaming websites called “Putlocker” all across the UK after the Motion Pictures Association of American argued that a number of websites has greatly affected its members' policies and rights by violating their content through Piracy after that decision an outbreak of tweets emerged of people complaining about that procedure proving further that morality has also became a problem arising with Piracy in itself which is a very complicated problem at this point with multiple arguments and possible solutions at hand but it seems like most people don't put the production companies' revenue loss in mind.
After all one of the reasons that piracy is illegal in the first place is that it affects the revenue of the producer and/or owner of said content.
According to the telegraph news platform, creative industries in the UK employ 1.5 Million people for about 36Billion£, and recent researches estimate that they are losing about 500 Million£ due to copyright infringements and theft. The south Korean home-made video production has declined up to 95% in the last decade.
The annual damage piracy costs to the USA movie production industry is estimated to be 25$ Billion
Although it can be a double-edged weapon as the director of the most pirated TV Show of 2012—David Petrarcam said that the constant piracy of the show created some noise which helped promote the show in itself.
However, that doesn't make piracy okay at all since it is still morally and legally incorrect and thus putting consumers at the risk of many things like viruses, exploits and legal procedures as previously mentioned.
Piracy has grown to the point where an advance copy (A screener) of the movie is released online 24 hours before the actual members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences themselves receive it, in addition to an estimation that states that when a movie his theaters in Russian an estimation of 1 million downloads is recorded after the first week of it being available in theaters.
-Piracy in Europe has grown significantly since 2008 growing up to almost 200% by 2015
-Almost 67% of all illegal digital piracy websites are hosted in North America and Europe.
-And 22% of all global internet band-width is used for piracy which really shows that piracy has put it's significant point of ink on the paper of internet culture and that leakage of copyrighted content and material has become its own problem along with many sub-problems that have emerged with time along Piracy itself.
The last element and currently the strongest hope of stopping piracy at this point in my opinion is what we call the “Watch-dogs”, the people responsible for building up a better security policy and preventing piracy overall, In the last couple of years they had to concentrate on 3 main elements which are:
· Pursuing large scale piracy such as streaming websites and torrent sharing websites.
· Making examples of large players in the piracy business by suing said website owners or individual pirates as we can see in the infamous case of showing that also file leaking has become a significant problem on its own where he lost over 200,000$ for making a number of songs produced by the company available for the public on a file sharing service thus becoming a liability to the record company leading to a lawsuit filed against him and becoming an example to other digital pirate
· Setting up systems to identify piracy and copyright infringements like the copyright system we see on popular social media websites such as Facebook, and YouTube as it can be clearly seen any illegal movie and/or copyrighted material posted on either of said websites is removed almost immediately by the automated copyright system they have installed.
Although those techniques have been making quiet a difference in the past decade where lawsuits by movie companies have dropped drastically in 2015 and websites such as YouTube has improved it's copyright policies over the years to the point where not only it's not allowed to share illegal movies on the platform but it is also not allowed to steal any sort of copyright content wither it's produced by a single individual or a network, and introducing new concepts such as fair use where a person is allowed to use copyrighted material under a number of regulations and conditions which qualifies him to use said content not only that, but we can also see a form of Fair use in legal movie streaming websites such as Netflix and Hulu where they make it easier for users to reach movies and TV shows and in return cross-benefiting both platforms the producer and the distributor.
To sum everything up, Piracy is a bottom-line great problem, affecting both the consumer and the companies that has the copyrights to their content, Loss of revenue and discouragement to the companies' employees and the risk of total bankruptcy is always increased through piracy, the industry had always had its ups and downs as previously mentioned by piracy has been putting a great pressure on it recently, not only has it affected the companies but it has affected the consumers, malicious software and viruses are always a thing of illegal files and shady downloading services, Piracy is morally and legally incorrect and should be stopped by everyone even if we cannot morally encourage everyone we should try and always keep our copyright systems and security up to date to prevent Piracy and all its sub-problems that accompany it.