INTRODUCTION ease ofduplication. Estimates of the cost to
“Like Other Crimes, Piracy Doesn’t Pay”1
In the late twentieth century,
the term piracy grew to include Copyright Violations of Intellectual property
such as music, films, and computer software. Piracy is defined as per the Law
Dictionary as – “the act or depredation
on the high seas; also, the theft of Intellectual Property, especially in
Apart from its traditional definition, piracy also refers to copyright violations
committed both inthe United States and abroad, this form of piracy includes the unauthorized storage,reproduction, distribution, or sale of intellectual property
for example, music CDs, movievideocassettes, and even fashion designs. The term has been
applied, in particular, to thepiracy of computer software, which is highly susceptible to theft because of its ease ofduplication. Estimates of the cost to copyright holders ranges in the billions of dollars annually.U.S. law protects copyright holders under the Copyright Act,3 and a1992 federal law makes software piracy a felony.4 Since the 1990s, a number of internationaltreaties and conventions, as well as diplomatic initiatives, have sought to forge greatercooperation among nations to combat such piracy.
refers to the unauthorized duplication of copyrighted content that is then sold
at substantially lower prices in the ‘grey’ market. The ease of access to technology has meant
that over the years, piracy has become more rampant. For example, CD writers
are available off the shelf at very low prices, making music piracy a simple
The Merriam Webster Dictionary6
defines PIRACY as: 3 (a) – “the unauthorized
use of another’s production, invention, or conception especially in
infringement of a copyright.”
effortless creation and supply of any work to a large population across the
globe was made possible by the advent of internet. The technology has virtually
removed all the traditional distinction between an ‘original’ work and its
‘copy’. Digitization has caused the expenditure of copying and distribution to
fall practically to zero. But, with the given efficacy, the internet has also
resulted in some complex legal disputes, inter
alia, copyright infringement, as all the activities takes place in a digital
and virtual environment.
is a prevalent form of violation of copyright that is committed by illegal
reproduction of, most commonly, music, sound recordings, cinematographic films,
videos, etc. Piracy is, nowadays, more common than ever with the use of the
Internet as its principal access and delivery point. The problem is of an age
old paradox in the law that facilitates the continuation of this behaviour by
permitting the sale and supply of recording and copying equipments but does not
allow duplication or reproduction for a purpose other than that permitted by
the holder of the copyright.
is not a problem that can be isolated in a single country; its reach has no
Because of the ease and speed of the Internet, piracy over the Internet crosses
borders more freely than any other type of commerce or crime.8
The copyright holder may very likely be in one country, the violator located in
another and the ISP in yet another. Copyright infringement on the Internet is a
global problem that begs for global solutions.9
can be implemented to combat global problems; court decisions only affect its
respective jurisdictional boundaries. Even wide sweeping decisions, such as
those made by the United States Supreme Court, only affect the jurisdiction of
the United States. The Internet has presented new problems, the courts and
legislations have not had time to catch up. Even though legislation implemented
in a particular country generally only affects that particular country, the
purpose of legislation often has a global reach.10
International standards, such as the WIPO Internet Treaties, cannot be
implemented without national legislation.11
Either it is ignorance by the innocuous population or blatant
disregard by the culpable parties towards the Anti-Piracy laws which are the main
triggering factors behind this outgrowing menace. The Copyright laws and
Information Technology or Cyber Laws are lagging behind in adequately dealing
with the fiend called Piracy. These reasons make delving into the
abovementioned topic an interesting and relevant academic exercise.
In view of the complications involved viz. Ignorance of
public, Fragility of laws and Jurisdictional limitations, the need to have a research
on Mass awareness, Strengthening of Laws, etc is tremendously relevant in the
times we live and the analysis thereof might pave the way for new solutions, or
further comprehensive research.
Property Theft: Get Real-Pirated Products
visited 17th Nov, 2017).
2 Definition of
visited 17th Nov, 2017).
(17 U.S.C.S. § 109 1993).
4 (Pub. L. No. 102-561, 106 Stat. 4233, codifiedat 18 U.S.C.A. § 2319 1988 & 1992 Supp.)
5 Definition of ‘Piracy’
6 Definition of ‘Piracy’
7 See Michael B.
Rutner, The Ascap Licensing Model and the Internet: A Potential Solution to
High-Tech Copyright Infringement, 39 B.C. L. Rev. 1061, 1069 (1998) at 1069.
“Internet Transmission has been global since the early 1990’s.” Id. at 1068.
8 See ibid. at 1069.
9 See Rutner, supra note
3, at 1069.
10 See Rutner,
supra note 3, at 1070.
11 U.S. Copyright Office, FL-100, Reviewed November, 2009