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Piracy in the Audiovisual Industry

The author is critical of the ongoing behaviour in Australia where young people are reluctant to acquire movies and films from licensed vendors preferring instead to obtain them cheaply from friends and relatives through copywriting. The writer blames digital revolution for the problems facing the film industry terming the new trend as theft. Unfortunately, the populace seems unaware that digital piracy is a serious form of crime because a friend would promise to provide the movie, song, or any digital material by simply reproducing it.

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The situation is not any different in other parts of the world, with a recent study conducted by IPSOS in the UK suggesting that at least thirty percent of the population engages in piracy. This happens mostly through content streaming and acquisition of counterfeit DVDs. The study revealed further that the UK audiovisual industry loses close to five-hundred million pounds each year. The author is concerned with the behaviour of individuals in the sense that they believe the crime is victimless yet these actions amount to serious crimes. Once a movie is copied or transferred online, its value is likely to reduce hence disadvantaging the producer.

Film production is a tiresome and expensive undertaking that consumes resources and energy. The current behaviour is likely to discourage producers and those interested in the business. If a movie is brought in the market without interruptions from pirates, the chances of making adequate profits is always high. Jean Prewitt, a senior government official in the United States, observed that piracy has a great impact on the independent sector because it is a source of livelihood to many people. Therefore, the government has to intervene to ensure that the industry is protected because it offers employment to several individuals. If sufficient action is not taken, many people will be rendered jobless.

Those engaged in piracy of movies are not interested in making any profit, but instead they do it for recreational purposes. If a person wants to view the movie online, it is suggested that subscription to sites such as Amazon Prime and Netflix should be embraced to stop piracy given the fact the costs are often low and affordable. Visiting the sites offering free downloads is simply promoting theft because such companies make a lot of money through advertising and subscription costs, which amounts to plagiarism for profit.

In other countries, such as the United States and Britain, the governments have made concerted efforts to educate members of the public, as well as prosecuting the pirates. Consumers should be made aware that physical copying or live streaming amounts to gifting criminals with money that do not belong to them. Furthermore, consumers should be sensitized to understand the fact that money obtained through the sale of counterfeit DVDs is often reinvested in promoting other forms of crimes, such as prostitution, drugs, and human trafficking.

Any person willing to stream live movies is a film and TV fan and as such, he or she should be on the safer side instead of being left to collaborate with criminals in killing the audiovisual industry. Various government agencies dealing with piracy and copyright should compel companies to keep off from advertising their products in the websites belonging to the companies that do not respect the copyright rules and regulations. This strategy seems to work well given the fact it has been applied successfully in the United States and the United Kingdom. However, the government agencies alone are not sufficient in preserving the industry because the private sector has a role to play as well. Based on this, the legislative organs should do something as well to ensure the infringement on the rights of film producers is avoided.

Various stakeholders should be encouraged to take part in ending piracy because continued copying and live streaming of films is likely to affect other sectors as well. For instance, the IP businesses and online learning are likely to be affected. Many countries are embracing online learning because of its flexibility and the system is likely to be affected in case fraudsters are allowed to download materials easily and distribute them to unsuspecting consumers.

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Due to the prevalence of copying behaviour, the author laments that young people have perfected the skill as compared to the IT experts in any large organization. The suggestions that the writer provides are valid because the government has the capacity to promote the industry through a number of enactments. For instance, it should be made illegal for any person to download content from unregistered companies. Members of the public should be informed that downloading content without paying is a form of hi-tech stealing and is likely to incapacitate the industry in general (Penberthy 2013, p. 25).

The two strategies would work well as far as ending piracy is concerned, but the criminals are not expected to sit back and watch their illegal businesses cut out easily. They will fight back and the industry players should be prepared to deal with their new tricks. Finally, piracy is a complex form of crime because members of the public believe it is victimless. Therefore, sensitization programs should be generated frequently to resolve the problem.

List of References

Penberthy, D 2013, “Web of piracy makes us partners in crime”, The Advertiser, Vol. 9, no. 29, 1-70.

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