Counterfeit Media And Internet Piracy

Counterfeit media consists of unauthorized reproductions of copyrighted materials sold as authentic. Because counterfeit media has similar packaging as the originals, buyers may be fooled into thinking they are purchasing a legal copy. Despite the fact that selling counterfeit media is illegal, it is often sold online.

There is no way to thoroughly check products before buying them from online sellers, so people can be tricked. Once the products arrive, buyers may find that the labels are all fake copies, and the media itself is either bootlegged or burned onto a CD. Because counterfeit copies such as these are often sold on Ebay and Amazon, buying with caution is always advised. Additionally, countries outside the U.S. also sell counterfeit media, particularly knock off DVD movies.

Consumers tend to buy counterfeit DVDs because they are cheaper and can be purchased before the movie is commercially released. Bootleg copies are filmed during the movie, then copied on a CD and sold. These types of copies become available while the movie is still in theaters, allowing people to view it early. This perk further fuels the market for counterfeited media.

Internet Piracy

Illegally downloading and distributing copyrighted media is called piracy. This differs from counterfeit media because piracy does not necessarily involve selling materials under the guise of authenticity. Still, unauthorized downloading and sharing copyrighted media is just as illegal as exchanging counterfeit media.

P2P, or peer-to-peer, sharing is a popular way of downloading files. In this method, people use the Internet to send and receive almost any media they want, including:

  • games
  • movies
  • music
  • software
  • TV shows.

While there have been many cases of people being sued for extensive illegal downloading, it is difficult to track down every single person who does this.

As a result, P2P sharing is still thriving. In spite of this, increased precautions are being taken to deter piracy. For example, music and movies purchased from iTunes and other authorized online sellers are locked and cannot be accessed by other computers.

Internet Piracy Statistics

Here are some interesting statistics about the prevalence and cost of Internet piracy. These results come from the International Federation of Phonographic Industries 2006 Piracy Report:

  • In 2005, Internet users illegally exchanged and/or downloaded about 20 billion tracks of music, adding up to about $24.3 billion in lost revenue for the music industry.
  • That same year, pirated CDs cost the music industry about $4.5 billion in lost sales.
  • Currently, about 100 million Americans have Internet access.

Another method of media piracy is involves buring copyrighted music and movies onto CDs and distributing them to friends and family. These clone CDs and DVDs may seem harmless, but if you do not own the rights to the materials, copying them is illegal. However, digital watermarking is used to protect store bought CDs and movies, making it more difficult to copy them.

Counterfeit media and Internet media piracy are big issues, and the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) has already sued thousands of people involved in illegal downloads. The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) is also cracking down on Internet piracy. Penalties for committing these crimes include hefty fines up to $150,000 and jail time.