It’s astounding how many people own at least one illegal copy of a film, or a pirated copy. They don’t see it as a big deal; after all, millions of other people are doing the same thing. Let’s put how common this is aside for a moment and take a deeper look at the act of illegal downloading or piracy.
A man works an ordinary day-job. He is making about the same as most of Americans in wages. The new movie he absolutely wanted to see has come out on DVD. That Tuesday he heads down to his local Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, or whatever store he wishes to purchase it from. He arrives at the store and immediately heads for the DVD section. He has found the DVD and has learned that it costs about $20-$25 to purchase. He second-thinks about buying the DVD. He decides not to and leaves the store, as he is struggling to make ends meet in the poor economy. The man gets home and gets on his computer and thinks about illegally downloading the movie he wanted to buy from the store. He searches and searches and finally finds a source to download it from. He does and proceeds to watch the film.
What just happened here? Obviously, we saw a man illegally download a copy of a film he wanted to see. What else did he do, though? For starters, he cheated the companies involved out of a share of the profits. Secondly, he has broken the law. You know all of those warnings you see from the FBI and INTERPOL at the beginning of your legal copies of DVDs and whatnot? They’re not just warnings. That’s the FBI and INTERPOL making you aware of piracy and copyright infringement being crime, and they are making you aware of the punishment you may receive if found guilty. So, now, the man is subject to up to 5 years in federal prison or a fine of up to $250,000.
Some of you may be thinking, “Oh, it’s just one guy with one download. Big deal.” I understand that. It doesn’t seem like that much of a problem. One download would just be cheating the companies out of the profits from one DVD. Nevertheless, you have to look at the bigger picture here. It’s not just one guy downloading illegal copies of films. It’s millions of people doing so. Millions of people downloading millions of films costing companies millions of dollars. Some companies can not survive hits like that.
Oh, and to all of you that are still saying things like, “At least people are sticking it to corporate America,” I hope you realize just how far your actions are reaching. When you (or millions of you) download illegal copies of movies, you are cheating these production companies out of millions of dollars. Because of this, they are losing money and are possibly pushed further and further towards the edge of bankruptcy. The companies go bankrupt and eventually out of business, putting an innumerable amount of Americans out of work. These newly unemployed Americans are going to make getting a job even harder for those of you still unemployed.
The consequences go on and on and on. Oh, and when those companies go out of business because of all the profits lost from illegal downloads, they won’t be able to make any more of those movies which you just need to have.