Piracy is the act of reproducing or using unauthorized records, such as music, programs, patented product etc, without the consent of the copyright owner. It is generally illegal but with the rampant increase in internet use, it is as well getting more common (Avery, 2008). Despite the negative factors that consider it illegal, at a closer look, it has important positive results. There is loss in terms of government revenue and income to the copyright owners, but there are other positive effects that piracy brings. These positive effects are so strong that piracy should not be banned. According to Kur & Levin (2011), games are the worst hit by piracy. They account for 35% of all the pirated material while music accounts for 20%. Newspapers and films account for 4% apiece while magazines account for 1%.
Positive effects of Piracy
One is able to access records that are no longer in the market (Avery, 2008). Most of the retail outlets to recorded and copyrighted material are out to make business. They therefore keep the latest products that most people would buy. This means that most of the old records are not easily obtained. Through piracy, people are able to download such materials and enjoy using them.
Secondly, those who cannot afford the records are accorded the chance of obtaining them at a cheap price. For instance, the youth are able to obtain records for their favorite musicians and filmmakers. This way, devout music lovers are created who would otherwise not have been there. Such features are important in a society since the youth are able to pass to the next stage having enjoyed their youth days. This is positive because they, in most cases, do not have money to buy these records. At advanced ages, they might not have the time to download and since they will have become devout lovers to the programs or records, they would be compelled to buy the genuine records. Piracy, at a closer look, increases sales in the long run.
Most of program developers, musicians and filmmakers are out to make profits. They therefore produce records that would fetch money for them and their producers. This is a dangerous move since artists and system developers would never produce unfamiliar material since they would not get high sales. Big companies who focus on sales and profits would never produce some material they believe would not be immediately popular to the public in fear that they might lose their popularity. Therefore, the artists will have their hands tied. They would never experiment new ideas in the market. When these new ideas are produced by the small and less known companies, they obviously would receive low sales. However, if they get pirated at no cost, the new ideas could be popular to the public and improve the field in the long run. For instance, music artists could come up with a new beat style that would be used by other artists to produce new records. This way, piracy helps in popularizing innovations and new ideas that later grow to greatness.
Contrary to most people that piracy reduces revenue, it has helped popularize ideas and artists. In music and film industries, for instance, there has been a global drop in sales of records, but there has been an increase in revenues from attended launches and concerts (Kur &Levin, 2011). This means that the people who access the records through piracy later on pay back to the artists by attending their shows. People who download games for free get the games popular and more people could buy computers and play stations, thus increasing revenues to the government and equipment retailers.
The material that is pirated is not completely the developers’ ideas. For instance, musicians use guitars, pianos and other instruments, while computer game developers use commands on computers to develop the games. However, none of the current musicians discovered these instruments, and they never pay to the patented owner of the guitar or piano. The same case applies to the people dealing with computers. None of them is patented to the computers they use and they do not pay for them. They therefore can not have full credibility to their productions and the public should not pay them fully, since they do not pay to the people who discovered the instruments they use. They should just be contented with the income they get.
Producers to the material prefer selling their work through renowned retailers which include big supermarkets and stores. Due to the large sales that these big retailers get, they are able to offer discounts to the buyers. Those people who can not go into the large stores due to their low social status are therefore left without the product. The ‘small’ retailer is therefore ‘killed’ by the ‘big’ retailer due to their higher prices. Pirated records are cheaper and the retailers can be able to sell them and retain their existence in the market.
Negative Effects of Piracy
There are poor sales on the original records. This translates to huge losses in the industry concerned as well as losses to the government revenue. There has been a progressive drop in revenues collected from music industry between 1999 and 2008. According to SIIA (1999) music records worth $14,584 million were sold in 1999 while in 2008, records worth only $8,420 were sold. This is quite a drop and has been closely attributed to the improvement in technology and increased number of pirated copies in the market (IDSA, 1999).
The quality of the original work is highly reduced and the image of the work owner could reduce due to the poor quality of the prated work. This could in the long run ruin careers or eventually kill the industry.
High ranking artists and talented producers to the records are worst hit by the increasing piracy. This is because they are popular and their productions are always regarded as exceptional. Most of them earn their living through their talents but with the increased loss of income, they opt to do other things that they may not be best suited for. We therefore end up with people placed in the wrong careers and the overall work quality from a given society could be poor. This spill-over to other industries negatively affects the whole economy.
Piracy kills creativity since there are many artists and creative people who fear to produce their work in fear that their work will not pay them back their initial cost. Talents are therefore killed and the quality of production in certain genres of music is lost. At the same time, little improvements are made on other area such as games since there is little that the developer gets in the process.
Retail market is also killed. This is because the people who are targeted by the local small markets are the ones who obtain the records from piracy. This translates to highly reduced sales that cripple the retail outlets.
It is evident that there is a big challenge in shunning piracy in the digital world. Those in the industry should now realize that fighting piracy is a losing battle. There are very many positive effects of piracy as discussed and though there are negative effects as well, a thorough approach can become appealing both to the program and record developers as well as their fans. Instead of all wasting all the money used to unsuccessfully fight piracy, the parties concerned should consider providing music to their fans at extremely low amounts. They could create cheap sites where their work can be downloaded at a low cost to ensure that their quality is maintained as well as their image. This would allow the upcoming recorders to get a share in the market as compared to the trends today. If this is followed, the negative impact on the world economy would be solved.