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What is Digital Piracy and How to Stop it?

  • Soumyaa Rawat
  • Oct 04, 2021
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Understanding Digital Piracy


The internet is a vast space for us to explore, create, and build. It is a virtual world that is different from the real world, yet very similar to it. As the real world involves people imitating each other, the digital world also includes people making pirated copies of online digital content.  


That said, digital piracy has become a widespread phenomenon so much so that legal laws have emerged in light of it. 


Digital content can be expensive to access. As there is a need to subscribe to portals and get authorized licenses, digital piracy seems a better option for most people. While many think that digital piracy does not do any harm, it surely hinders the copyright of any digital entity. 


Therefore, digital piracy can have various consequences. By reducing the quality of a digital product to hinder the legal distribution channel, digital piracy can have many consequences on the creative industry as well as the pirates who practice it. 


Defined as an act of downloading and distributing copyrighted content virtually without legal authorization, digital piracy is a criminal offense. 


(Must read: What is Differential Privacy?)


As the internet and its widespread use increased over time, digital piracy too became a renowned concept that led the masses to pursue it. Perhaps digital items like films, videos, or even software were distributed without any legal authorization. 


People who practice digital piracy are called digital pirates. Copying a music file or a confidential video, all sorts of illegally copying and distributing digital content refers to digital piracy.


One of the best digital piracy examples is recording a feature film from the original place of projection and distributing it through further channels. 


"Piracy is a crime. Unfortunately, lots of youth and adults think sharing software, games, music, ebooks, pictures, etc. is just a convenient tool to help reduce costs. In fact, digital piracy is often portrayed as a victimless crime, but that portrayal is false." Digital Piracy - a Criminal Offence 



Threats of Digital Piracy 


There is a diverse opinion when it comes to the threats of digital piracy. The harm that piracy can do to society is endless and perhaps one needs to comprehend the societal costs of digital piracy. 


  1. Age-inappropriate Content


One of the most severe threats of digital piracy is the exploitation of age-inappropriate content. Some examples of inappropriate content are pornography, adult movies, violent content, etc. 


As digital pirates sell and trade content illegally, they also expose teenagers to age-inappropriate content that can hamper their moral values and distract them from focusing on education. 


Age-inappropriate content also involves discovering drugs, crimes, and weapons that can drive youngsters towards criminal activities and push them towards socially unacceptable behaviors. 


While a lot of other phenomena have a role to play in exposing children and teenagers to such content, digital piracy continues to be a major contributor at large. 


  1. Malware or Virus Infection


One of the major disadvantages of digital piracy is that it carries malware or Virus infection that can cause massive harm to systems. For any digital content that is retrieved through digital piracy networks, your system could be highly vulnerable to malware that could easily disrupt the normal functioning of your system. 


What's more, it could also disable your computer that could be left damaged. That said, it is one of the major dangers of digital piracy and one should not access pirated content through any link. 


Given that so many transferred files carry viruses and can infect the normal functioning of your system, it is better to not go for pirated files or content that has been stolen and distributed illegally. 


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  1. Fraud Practices


Fraudulent cases have emerged in recent times so much so that digital piracy has also led hackers to harm people financially. When it comes to fraud cases, cases of cheating have been pursued by distributing pirate content and directing people to pay them accordingly. 


Pirates can also create false copies of bank portals that can lead to massive losses. Moreover, cyber crimes have also taken place in light of digital piracy. 


As digital pirates pretend to be a safe source of digital content, they might ask netizens to share their location or some other personal details which could be then used for malicious intent. 


Perhaps it is claimed that one of the major threats of digital piracy is fraud practices and cybercrimes. 


  1. Unauthentic Source


Another threat of digital piracy is that it can lead to the distribution of digital content through unauthentic sources. This can also lead to cybercrimes. 


Well, unauthentic sources can be a cause of cybersecurity threats as well as a cross-continental flow of illegitimate content. As the internet has become a rapidly-growing arena of information and entertainment, it has also led to many negative consequences on mankind. 


This includes people pretending to be someone else and leading them to dangerous situations. That said, digital pirates are more likely to go against innocent teenagers and children who are not well-prepared to tackle situations like these. 


  1. Data Theft


Malware isn't the only thing that you need to be scared of. Many viruses can be deliberately installed in your system just to steal data and other private information. 


Personal data theft is a major threat of digital piracy that has not only led many innocent lives in danger but has also encouraged digital pirates to expose information and significant data related to victims. 


Technology has advanced so much that it has now become easy for a computer to enter into another system and keep a track of what's happening. While it sounds pretty cool, it is equally harsh and devastating for those affected by data theft. 


From important files to images, passwords, and whatnot, data theft can include almost anything and everything. 


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Ways to Stop Digital Piracy 


As we have already discovered the various threats of digital piracy, we shall now explore the ways to stop digital piracy in this segment. When it comes to how to prevent digital piracy, here is a set of few measures that can be worked out. 


  1. Access to affordable digital content


One of the biggest reasons why digital piracy takes place is that people are not able to afford the content available online. For every movie or song that they wish to stream, one has to pay a certain fee that is usually high according to the income bracket of students, teenagers, or young adults. 


Perhaps access to affordable digital content is one of the biggest ways to curb this digital evil and put a stop to its unending threats. Moreover, the digital gap can also be bridged with this solution. 



  1. Educate and Advocate against Digital Piracy


Before we take any step forward to curb digital piracy, it is extremely important for us to be aware of what it is. Knowing about digital piracy and understanding its whereabouts comprise a crucial part of becoming educated in this field. 


Another way to stop digital piracy is to educate and advocate the masses against this concept. Cybersecurity lessons also cover this aspect and perhaps it is important to educate teenagers about the same. 


Considering that access to technology has substantially increased in recent years, it is crucial for every child to know the pros and cons of digital piracy. This can include holding sessions, discussing case studies, and elaborating on the consequences of such evils. 


Not only will this solution help children differentiate between pirated and original online content, but will also help them spread the word among their peers. 



  1. Strict Anti-Piracy Measures


Even though there are numerous digital piracy laws, it continues to take place openly. Without any strict anti-piracy measures in software and content piracy, it will not be possible to put a curb on digital piracy. 


Such measures can include hefty fines against such an offense, cancellation of licenses in light of conducting piracy and disrupting services for that particular IP address. 


With better-equipped cyber cells and stricter measures against digital piracy, netizens could be protected in a better manner. Even though the law sounds strict enough, stricter measures can bridge the gap between digital literacy and digital well-being. 


"There are various anti-piracy services out there you can use to fight digital piracy. These services usually aim at disrupting the access to the content, even removing it entirely."

Anti-Piracy Measures 




In the end, digital piracy might not be perceived as a heinous crime. However, it is a serious criminal offense that can hinder the distribution channel of various digital content. 


With various threats of digital piracy targeting innocent netizens, cybersecurity measures against digital piracy have to get more elaborate and enhanced. All in all, digital piracy has been a 'popular' practice among tech-savvy individuals. 


(Recommended blog: Best data security practices)


Yet, the drawbacks of this practice have only unfolded in recent years. Thereby it is significant to find solutions for digital piracy and put an end to. 

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