My Stance on Pirated Movies

As movie piracy is unethical and illegal against Copyright Protection Laws, movie pirates are expected to respect anti-piracy laws by not indulging in illegal reproduction, downloading, sale, and distribution of movies in digital disc formats. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and its international counterpart, the Motion Picture Association (MPA) are actively involved in combating movie piracy. Criminal laws against piracy and counterfeiting are getting tougher day by day. The movie pirates are liable to pay hefty fines and are sentenced to jail if found guilty.Great movies are created by creative artists and technicians. Talents are exhibited at fabulous costs which are redeemed when the movie is distributed for screening in theaters, home viewing via DVD, television, etc. Sometimes the distribution involves rigorous marketing.Movies contribute greatly to the economy of a country. For example, a major Hollywood movie production contributes around $200,000 per day to local economies when the artists use dozens of other businesses like hotels, transportation, etc. Once the movie is shot, the distributors buy rights from producers and decide on the number of copies to be leased out to theaters. The theater owners indulge in a bid to buy the copy before screening in theaters for an agreed time. If any pirated versions of the movie leaks out during this time it may cause enormous financial damages to the producers, distributors and theaters. The damages will be even more severe, if the movie has to be released internationally. Sometimes the pirates make new movies available for download within hours of theatrical release. According to Copyright Industries in the U.S Economy 2004 Report (1), the movie industry worldwide including producers, distributors, theaters, video stores and pay-per view providers lost $18.2 billion to piracy in the year 2005. Over eighteen million movies are pirated each month via internet downloads. China’s local film industry lost $2.7 billion to piracy in 2005. France lost $1.5 billion and Mexico lost $1.1 billion.If the pirated movies get leaked out during the time of movie release, the popularity of artists increases. It reduces their dependency on marketing. On the other hand, pirated movies hit the filmmakers and small producers hard since they are not protected legally and financially. The pirated DVDs increase the popularity of a movie. This in turn increases the number of viewers in theaters and the sale of DVDs also go higher. But digital piracy threatens to have a greater impact on the economy in the long run. Certainly, the pirated movies are inferior to the original movies without the intended effects (Pang 94).Technology is the key to prevent movie piracy. The latest reproduction and distribution technology used by the legitimate copyright holders are followed by movie pirates also (Pang 81). Good movie makers must protect their copyrights without giving in to piracy.Downloading a movie from websites without permission is civil disobedience and is as bad as stealing a DVD from a stall (Read 2). People who buy pirated CDs or DVDs are considered to be encouraging movie piracy and are liable to be punished. They sometimes interpret piracy as a market correction for what amounts to a cartel (Read 2). This is an excuse for not being ethical and moral before stealing intellectual property. No matter what anyone thinks about the movie industry, people have no legal or ethical right to swap movies.As technology is common to everyone, the quality of pirated movie DVDs may also increase. This is because the bandwidth and processing power have been increasing. The downloadable movies are big threats to the home movie rental and sales providers also (Freidenfelds 6). The movie industries should study the nuances of cutting edge technologies and be smart enough to protect movies from getting pirated. Heavily encrypted DVD standard with finger printing was used in 2008. Encryption and licensing standards may prevent pirates from digital download process when many customers move out to broadband connections. Forensic digital watermarking is a reliable technology to prevent piracy of movie content. But this method has to be implemented effectively to perform jamming attacks through low-pass filtering, noise addition, geometric shifts and manipulation of brightness, and contrast (Lubin, Bloom, Cheng 1). The consumers may not think of pirated movies if the movies are reasonably low priced and convenient for downloads.It is unlikely that any country, company, or economic system will determine the fate of the global Internet community (Strangelove 72). Every country has to take serious measures to curtail movie piracy in all forms. Presently, different countries act differently in dealing with movie piracy.The United States has strict anti-piracy laws. China is less serious in its approach towards movie piracy. China tops the table in the list of piracy with an estimated loss of 244 $ million at the rate of  94% in the year 2005 (Bocij 152). Other countries like Russian Federation, Hungary, etc follow in the list. It has been criticized that China has a communist bent of mind behind the subject of movie piracy. Feng Xiaogong, a film director in China says that movie piracy is less in the United States because the American people naturally see piracy as unethical and equivalent to theft whereas the Chinese do not (Pang 95). Strict and controversial bills are getting approved in the United States to stiffen penalties for movie piracy. Emphasis is made to avoid college students from illegal downloading. Awareness campaigns have long been working effectively in the United States. For example, Mr. Gibson, an assistant professor of law at the University of Richmond, Charlottesville has been regularly campaigning to propagate the copyright laws (Read 2).Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies are fraught with difficulties and are not easy to solve. A full control may not be possible worldwide because there are inherent limits to law, technology, and corporations as regulating forces (Strangelove 56). But the movie pirates cannot get off scot-free all that easily in the near feature.