Many will recognize the famous anti-piracy commercial, commonly known as “You Wouldn’t Steal a Purse”, but few actually know that around fifty percent of Americans pirate music and movies regularly, according to a study by DailyTech. Moral conflict seems to face people when considering piracy, and those are understandable flinches, however, piracy may not be as bad as it is portrayed as.
For example, in another study by The American Assembly of Columbia University, it shows that a significant number of pirating Americans spend more on media and hand-held devices than those Americans that do not pirate; nearly half of the music files that 18-25 year-old pirates own are bought. These numbers encourage underground artists and directors to use pirating websites to promote their albums and movies. Over time, as the artists become more popular on torrenting sites, they parallely create a notoriety in the open world. As Richard Parsons (CEO of Time Warner) said, “I don’t think piracy is going to kill the music industry. But digital technology and the ability to download will change the packaging from CDs to a single based business.” Pirates, in deed, are benefiting many artists by directing money straight to creators, rather than spinning them through the chaos of the music industry.
More importantly, however, is the fact that there are more significant crimes that should be looked over on the internet before piracy. The visible-web, or the part of the internet that is most accessible and used predominantly by people, is really only 4% of all world-wide-web content. On the visible-web, there are loads of harmful viruses that lose billions of dollars to corporations and across a network of people; the “ILOVEYOU” virus in 2000, that sent out messages to all Microsoft Outlook contacts, resulting in 10-15 billion dollars in damage. On another side, using crypted words on a search engine, people are able to access parts of “the dark web”, which once held the infamous Silk Road. The Silk Road was shut down in 2013 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for hosting a site that allowed for 9,519,664 accumulated bitcoins (2,810,775,992.64 USD) in exchange of narcotics and other undiscovered illegals. That’s just the visible web; cha-ching.
The other supposed 96% of the internet is infamously named “the deep web”, holding over 7.9 zettabytes of information, or, to put in perspective, 7.9*10^13 gigabytes. Remember the Silk Road? The new Silk Road 2.0, hosted now on the deep web, accounts in only three months for 1.2 billion of the 2 billion bitcoins in circulation currently, according to Time Magazine. The deep web also allows: open file-sharing child pornography sites, red rooms, sites to hire hitmen for under 10,000 dollars , open sacrifices for cannibalism, live-stream murders, and human exchange. Compared to these, piracy is a petty crime; a young boy jaywalking to catch his stray ball, and the United States government seems far more interested in collapsing the young boy for capital reasons than shutting down the underground mafia. In fact, the MPAA recently spent 400,000 dollars lobbying the US government departments to stop pirating, and even with this, the US government has run out of a budget to spend on measures in anti-piracy. Fifteen anti-piracy laws have been passed, while it seems citizens have had little-to-no notification on defense against the deep web.
Piracy will continue, and whether people choose to file-share is up to them; what American societies should focus on seems to be a bigger problem.