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Movie Piracy

Updated on September 7, 2014

Can I really get In trouble for pirating movies

Going to the movies is a great way to spend an evening or even an afternoon.

You anxiously wait for that next big blockbuster to come to the big screen.

The movie was fantastic and now you cannot wait for it to come out on DVD. That can take several months.

First it has to finish its run in the theater and then be transferred to DVD for sell to the public. Many people it out. But others are taking shortcuts and getting the movie early.

How are they getting their hands on a copy of a just released movie? They are doing it through pirated movies.

Movie piracy is a serious crime and it is one that is affecting the movie industry and population tremendously. Though it may seem like a great idea at the time, it comes with serious repercussions. If you are not familiar with this form of theft, and theft it is, this article is for you.

So what is movie piracy?

Movie piracy at its most simple definition is illegally copying a film without the express permission of its owner.

It can take the form of people renting DVD's and then burning copies to distribute to other people for free or for money. It can also be downloading a movie from a share site for free.

It can also be buying illegally copied DVD's from people who have recorded a new release in the theater and then made copies or uploaded them to a share site. It is illegal in all of its forms and is heavily punishable by law should the person buying or selling them get caught.

It is extremely damaging to the film industry because it takes away revenue from the theaters, and film studios.

How is a movie pirated?

There are several ways a movie may be pirated.

It really depends on the age of the movie.

New releases are often captured on video camera in the movie theater and then copies are made for distribution.

They are also uploaded to share sites where people will download a copy to their computer. Another way for newly released films to be pirated is for a person to obtain a copy that is meant to go to a film critic.

Movies that have been released to DVD are also part of the whole movie piracy movement. Someone will rent or buy a new movie and then make lots of copies to sell or share with others. The movies that are filmed on a camcorder in the movie theater tend to be very poor quality and often the person buying the film does not know this until the purchase or download is already complete.

Where do people find pirated movies?

Movie piracy is very wide spread.

Chances are if you live in a big metropolitan area you have seen people set up tables on the sidewalk selling movies. There is a high chance that many of them are pirated copies. Other people will go to share sites and download movies from the website.

A person will upload a movie and then others can share the file. Before long it has spread too many different people.

There are also websites that will seem legitimate and you think you are buying a legally copied disk when in fact you are not.

Is movie piracy against the law?

Yes, movie piracy is against the law and is punishable with jail time and/or fines. It is illegal to make the pirated copies and it is illegal to buy them or download them from the computer.

Even going to a website that does not require you to download the movie but instead lets you watch it through streaming video is still illegal. You are not paying for that movie. It is essentially theft in its most basic form.

Some governments are stricter than others but it is still a global issue that is causing havoc in the movie industry.

If I want to copy a DVD I purchased over to my computer drive, is it a form of movie piracy?

It really all depends on how you plan on using that DVD you purchased.

If you simply want to watch it on your computer then it is not a form of movie piracy. New DVD's are now coming with copies that are made just to download to your computer. But if you share that movie with others or make copies to distribute then you are violating copyright laws.

If you have ever paid attention to the warning from the government that is posted at the beginning of any picture then you know what is allowed and what is not allowed. You definitely do not want to get caught sharing movie files or selling pirated copies.

How has the internet caused movie piracy to flourish?

The internet is an amazing thing. While it does bring everyone closer together in a more tight knit community it also allows for the sharing of files.

Some files are perfectly fine to share. But in the case of movie piracy it is not okay. Many people find themselves downloading software that allows them to share files and in most cases these files are movies, music or games that are copyrighted and protected under law.

But with the internet being so vast and since there are users all across the world it can be difficult to shut a website or sharing site down for illegally pirating movies.

What is the drawback of using a pirated movie?

Most pirated movies are the ones that are still in the movie theater.

So the thief, and that is exactly what the person is, has to either obtain a copy of it on DVD that is meant for distribution to theaters or film critics, or he or she has to record the movie while sitting in the theater.

Most pirated movies you find on the internet are through the camcorder method. That means the picture is usually quite distorted, the sound is off and you have people walking through the range of the camera's picture.

If you buy one of these movies off a street vendor then you have no idea what the quality is going to be. It may also be a blank disk. And it is not as if you can go back to the vendor and demand a refund because you are doing something illegal.

The biggest gamble comes when you download a movie from the internet for a pirate website. You can be tracked and found through your IP address.

And if you are caught by the authorities then you could be facing severe penalties and jail time.

How does movie piracy affect the movie industry?

Let's face it, no one likes going to a movie theater and paying anywhere from $10.00 to $15.00 for a ticket plus playing $15.00 for a bucket of popcorn and a soda.

And many hate the idea that actors and actresses are being paid millions of dollars to star in the film.

Plus you get to hear about how much money the movie is raking in at the box office. So many people justify movie piracy by thinking that it really is not harming anyone and it is a way to save money. But those people are wrong.

It may not affect the actor or actress because he or she has been paid but it does affect everyone else involved. People who illegally copy or download movies are taking money out of the film industry's pocket.

That is the same pocket used to pay people to paint movie sets, to set up sound, or to adjust the lighting. Those are the people it really hurts because if a studio keeps losing money those are the first people to lose their jobs.

What are some legal issues with movie piracy?

Movie piracy faces a lot of legal issues.

The first is copyright laws. Technically the movie belongs to the studio and when movie pirates are committing theft. But many people have brought up issues with this train of thought.

One is being that if you purchase a DVD legally then you should be entitled to do with it whatever you want as long as you are not making a profit. It is a fine line. While it may be okay to download it to your own computer or even loan it out to a friend or family member, the law is not always spelled out so well.

The internet and sharing files have opened up a host of problems as to what is legal and what is not legal. You also have the issue of some countries not cracking down on movie pirates.

Where do most pirated movies come from?

Right now most pirated movies come from Asia. It is a hard issue that governments such as China, Japan and even Malaysia are facing. There is a huge money market for pirated movies and while they may crack down on one street vendor, three more spring up in his or her place.

Not everyone is going to report a person that is illegally copying and distributing movies so it becomes up to the government to try and track these underground organizations down and penalize them.

In April of 2013 in Australia a shipment of pirated DVD's were intercepted by customs and it is said to have contained as many as 1.2 million pirated movies that were to be resold on the streets.

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