Internet piracy is the illegal reproduction and/or distribution of any copyrighted digital file that can change hands on the Internet. This can be done with music files, videos and movies, e-books, software and other materials. Those who practice this type of piracy often manage to carry out their entire operation on the Internet, including advertising and sales. It has become a worldwide crime problem due to the relative ease with which it can be committed, even over long distances.
Downloadable music files were one of the first targets of Internet piracy.
One of the first types of files that were widely pirated were digital music files, commonly known as MP3s, because of. mp3 file extension they carry. Several very popular file-sharing programs were developed in the early 1990s, making it easy to transfer these types of files, both legitimate and pirated. These file-sharing programs have been subject to a great deal of scrutiny since then, because many people used them to get copyright-protected videos and music without paying for them.
Internet-based commerce can provide anonymity for software pirates.
While different countries’ laws on downloading and distributing digital files may vary slightly, obtaining music and movies through Internet piracy is illegal in most countries.
Making unauthorized copies of software is a form of Internet piracy.
Piracy involving software is quite common and very difficult to prevent, as are other types of piracy. It is even possible for a consumer to purchase a pirated software program without realizing that it was produced illegally. It is very easy for someone who is engaged in this practice to create a seemingly legitimate Web page from which to advertise and sell illegally produced software.
Making unauthorized copies of movies for friends is a form of online piracy.
Internet-based commerce can basically allow anyone to do business anonymously and in high volume. Unlike physical products, there is no need to keep a stock of digital files as they can be reproduced and sold quickly. It is partly because of this convenience that there are so many software pirates. If they are discovered or come under suspicion, they can disappear almost instantly, leaving no contact information or any trace of their activities, except a long line of cheated and dissatisfied customers who cannot get their money back.
One way for consumers to avoid unintentionally purchasing counterfeit or pirated software is to do so at a retail location or a website they know they can trust, such as the one run by the software publisher. In these cases, the software almost always comes with a certificate of authenticity. It will also be easy to contact the publisher in case of problems sending or operating the software.
Songs downloaded via Internet piracy are usually burned to CDs.