Talk Like a Pirate- Don’t Act Like One

Today, many are taking to the World Wide Web to celebrate the goofyness that is “International Talk Like a Pirate Day.” While we wholeheartedly endorse having a good time, today provides us with an opportunity to point out that piracy—on the high seas and on the open Web—is not all fun and games.

Digital theft, more commonly known as Internet piracy, is a serious issue which plagues the online community. Recent studies indicate that attitudes towards theft in the tangible marketplace versus the online sphere are drastically incongruent. For instance, one such study found that college students consider theft of a DVD from a physical store to be stealing and morally wrong, while their perception of downloading a movie online without compensation was that it is much more socially accepted. The truth is, the consequences of digital theft are at least as great as those of theft of physical property and studies like this one provide fascinating insight into the blindness many Internet users suffer from when being confronted with free content.

Early in August, we highlighted just exactly who is affected by Internet piracy. While many may think it’s the megastar that’s won countless Oscars or Grammys, the majority of those who take a hit are the up-and-comers, stage grips and set designers, programmers, back-up singers, researchers — list can go on and on. These are real jobs that deserve real compensation. Just because their product is digitally based, does not mean they are any less important. Online theft is theft of American jobs, plain and simple.

So what can we do about it? Internet piracy is not going to go away over night, but we must take significant steps to tackle this issue. One possible solution is through better education to help change the public attitudes toward illicit downloading and streaming. Another approach is through rogue sites legislation, which targets the operators of websites that exist for the sole purpose of offering such illegal content. Many of these rogue sites are based overseas and beyond the reach of our law enforcement, so rogue sites legislation, like the PROTECT IP Act, is a necessary legal tool to combat this blight of the Internet.

So, as we play around today “shivering me timbers” and “ahoy mate”ing, let us keep in mind that stealing booty online is just that: stealing. And work towards finding a solution, like rogue sites legislation, that will take out the “arrrrrrr” out of “rrrrrrrrrogue sites.”

Subscribe for updates from GIPC