Since the beginning of time us humans have always had a knack for taking the tools that are given to us to exploit a situation.
The internet is one of these such tools.
When it comes to illegal downloads we use the term piracy to illustrate the theft of content.
What kind of content are we stealing?
Realistically anything that could be paid for that we are choosing to access for free is pirating.
This could be using sneaky ways to get around news pay gates, photocopying or downloading a paid book. Usually it entails downloading a piece of software, movie, music or TV show.
How much piracy are we doing?
Recent stats show that collectively internet users access piracy websites about 300 billion times a year.
Of this one third of the content is TV shows. This figure is seen to be on the rise.
One would think that with the popularity of streaming services such as Netflix, this would be on the decline.
The truth is that people want access to each piece of content they desire not just the ones on their paid platform.
Game of Thrones being back on air (only on Foxtel/HBO) is a perfect example.
Stats released show that almost one in five viewers pirated the content rather than paying for it.
One of the challenges of this crime is that people genuinely feel that it is victimless with statements like “don’t the folks in Hollywood have enough money”.
Yet while not everyone personally downloads the content themselves, recent studies showed that 50 per cent of people had watched pirated TV shows or movies in the past year.
The fact is that so long as there is a simple free way to access content and the likelihood of getting caught is minimal, people will continue to pirate.
Piracy has impact on artists
The Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association says online piracy is one of the most challenging issues facing the creative industries today.
“If piracy continues at current rates, creative business will become unsustainable,” the association says.
“Piracy is a multi-million dollar enterprise, not just kids in a basement swapping files. Pirate sites generate hundreds of millions of dollars from advertising revenue annually, with not one cent going back to the original creators or owners of the work.
“And pirate sites are amongst the most hazardous places on the internet. One in three infringing sites expose users to malicious software, or malware, that can steal personal and financial information to facilitate ID theft, or lock a computer and encrypt files so they become inaccessible until a ransom is paid.”