Two decades ago there wasn’t really any type of cyber law. Today, we can’t pick up a newspaper, without reading something about legal issues that involve the Internet, or the companies that do business there. The record and movie industry has been distraught over piracy, copyright infringement, and stolen intellectual property. And they have every right to be, but they aren’t taking it lying down.
In fact, we now see that many of the cyber laws on the books are there because the movie and record industry has sent their lobbyists to Washington DC to get laws passed to prevent this theft. Has it worked? Yes and no, the piracy still exists, and it is doubtful if it can all be stopped. The European Union has just come out with a new law to protect companies from individuals downloading without paying for movies, and songs.
Software companies are also being ripped off, and it’s not just in places like China where you might expect, a lot of stuff happens in the United States, and the Internet is worldwide, as we cross the digital divide. Sometimes people can’t afford songs or movies so they download from a website which has pirated the songs and movies, and then there are the people who build websites who distribute this material who find ways to get a hold of it, usually you legally themselves.
Recently there was a very interesting article on cyber law and one of the big problems in the Wall Street Journal. The article was titled “Warner Bros. Probes Online Leak of Potter” by Loren A.E. Schuker published on November 24, 2010.
It turns out that Warner Bros had their latest Harry Potter film stolen a full four days of head of its debut according to the article. Although the full movie was not available, the first 36 min. were, and the folks that love to play around with file-sharing were able to get it for free. Now then, I’d like to express my opinion on this topic – and then ask some questions, philosophically of course.
If the movie companies can’t get a return on their investment because their films and movies are stolen and given away for free, then they are less likely to spend big budgets on big movies in the future, because they will not be able to make a profit. Indeed, this creates a huge risk in the marketplace, and the reward is not there, if the work will only be stolen.
This is a detriment to not only the United States but also countries like Brazil and India who are also now making movies, along with China. How they protect their movie industries, as they will have the same problems as we do here. How much is at stake – hundreds of billions of dollars per year. That is well over the gross domestic product of at least 300 of the world’s nations – stolen in cyberspace.
Even though we have laws in the United States, the EU, and other countries it is doubtful that cyber law alone can stop this problem. It appears that cyber law is only keeping the honest people honest, and the criminals are moving around too fast to stop, even with the recent domain name repossessions by authorities. Please consider all this.