Share & Connect
We live in a world where a simple click of the mouse can take us further than we ever imagined. Thanks to the power of internet, we can more efficiently communicate with others (keep a friendship or even a relationship), watch TV, read the newspaper, or even shop online. Not only have our lives become much easier, but also, the internet industry keeps growing at an exponential rate, and new services become available to everybody day after day.
The recent closedown of Megaupload has surprised most of us. This internet giant, founded only five years ago, contained around 150 million registered users.
Megaupload served as a storage and distribution channel for all types of digital files (including music, software, movies, books, etc.). The problem is that most of these files did not hold the necessary copyrights to be distributed in such a way, and Megaupload did not seem to care too much about it.
There is no doubt that all of us have downloaded a movie, a song, software, or any kind of free file at some point in our lives, using illegal services such as Megaupload or Rapidshare. Consequently, in order to have an opinion about this issue, it is crucial to ask ourselves the following question: should online piracy be accepted, or should it be penalized?
Some users defend free piracy, claiming that companies such as Microsoft, Apple, or Adobe sell their products at incredibly high prices. Therefore, there is an incentive for consumers to avoid paying for these “unaffordable” products and freely distribute them online instead. The same thing happens in the cinematographic industry–going to the cinema has become increasingly expensive, and potential clients are not willing to pay for it anymore.
On the other hand, we have to think that there are also thousands of independent workers that develop products with their own effort, including programmers and music artists who spend hundreds of hours working on and building new software or a new song in order to sell them to individual consumers around the world.
They invest their money and time aiming to provide a new product and gain an economic benefit from it. However, these people see how their products are illegally uploaded to sites such as Megaupload, where users can download them without paying a single cent. Is this fair? If you were one of these artists, would you have the same opinion on the piracy debate?
It has been widely demonstrated that internet users not only use free illegal services such as Megaupload. In fact, most customers are now willing to pay for products and services that legally distribute intellectual property (the best examples are Spotify and iTunes in the music industry). Following these business models, it is possible that we will probably very soon enjoy new web platforms which will allow us to download movies legally and pay a copyright fee.
As mentioned in the beginning, the internet will take us further as new innovative products and services become available to all. As always, our objective as users is not only to enjoy it as a free service, but also to find a balance between our interests and those who add value to its content.