File-Sharers and Copyright-Infringers: Threat or Menace?

File-Sharers and Copyright-Infringers: Threat or Menace?

File-Sharers and Copyright-Infringers: Threat or Menace?

File-Sharers and Copyright-Infringers: Threat or Menace?

Synopsis

Whether you choose to call it file sharing, copyright infringement, or digital piracy, downloading non-licensed music, movies, software, and other forms of digital content is common worldwide. Despite the widespread nature of this phenomenon, much remains unknown about it. Is 'digital piracy' truly having a negative impact on society? Does enforcement actually deter would-be downloaders? Gunter examines these issues, providing both an analysis of the historical aspects of copyright and of newly collected data on downloaders. His findings lead into a critique of the pros and cons of the current state of copyright law and enforcement.

Excerpt

“A copyright will protect you from pirates. And
make you a fortune.”

– A 1906 advertisement by Columbia
Copyright & Patent Co., Inc.

Over the last century, we have seen radical shifts in the way in which we view crime and criminality. Prohibition arrived and was later repealed, organized crime evolved, intoxicating substances have been outlawed leading to the war on drugs, and violent crime rates have risen and fallen. Without doubt, many changes have been observed in both the prevalence of specific types of deviance and criminality, as well as society’s reaction to them. Society has evolved and, with it, the very concept of crime. The vast majority of these shifts, however, can be characterized as rather gradual changes. Only rarely do we see a crime or, even more seldom, an entire type of crime, come into the public spotlight within a relatively small period of time. One such occurrence is that of digital crime or cybercrime, a term which is generally used as an umbrella concept to indicate an unlawful behavior associated with computers (Wall, 2001).

It was not until it became possible to establish longdistance connections between and among computers, allowing access to a computer’s data remotely, that . . .

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