Downloading any product without paying for it has a cascade effect that spans from the corporation that produces it all the way to the artist or staff member that created it. The idea of stealing is understood when we talk about physical items such as a car, or a tool, but for some strange reason, digital piracy is perceived as theft that doesn’t have any consequences. We as a global community need to change this incorrect ideology. There are billions of dollars lost annually due to digital piracy and it’s growing.

Digital piracy is the outright theft of a product that is copyrighted. According to IBC.org, digital piracy cost the US economy over $30 billion each year. Those that are involved in the theft see digital products in a different way than a physical item, and in many cases, they believe that the digital item is overpriced, and they therefore rationalize that their theft is justified.

The digital revolution seems to have crossed the line in the psychology of what is morally right. The small number of those that have always felt deserving, even when they couldn’t afford to buy something has been growing almost exponentially on the digital front. Companies and governments around the world have been making attempts to not only put physical software deterrents in place, but also an increased punishment for digital piracy.

Yet even with all of the warnings, the theft of digital products continues to be considered less than stealing a physical item.

The Message needs to be Expanded

Changing long-held perception is a huge challenge, and when it comes to the digital world, there are generations that are already embedded in the idea that digital should mean “free.” The companies responsible for the software, movies, music, videos, and games need to band together to launch an informational campaign for the global community. The message needs to be clear: digital piracy steals from companies as well as the average people that create the products. There is a requirement to alter the idea that digital piracy is a victimless crime and transition it to the understanding that it is ethically and morally wrong.

In an article by computer.howstuffworks they state:

Psychologists at the University of Notre Dame suggest that the computer creates a “psychological distance” between the pirate and his or her victim

[source: Crowell et
al.
]

The computer appears to act like an ethical filter. The act of piracy doesn’t seem to carry with it any consequences. The pirate doesn’t see the harm in his or her actions and the likelihood of getting caught is low.

The internet is a cozy home of anonymity and this has brought about the removal of any face of those that suffer due to digital piracy. The warning text that we see before every movie has become something that most just ignore. Replacing the bland text with the images of families losing their homes, hungry children, job layoffs, and companies closing their doors may sound drastic, but pictures make a bigger impact to get the point across.

Digital piracy has been called the theft that is a complex issue with no single cause, and no simple solution. CyberEd and Da Vinci Forensics understands that digital piracy hurts everyone and is working in the general public and corporate world to educate as well as assist in letting people know the ultimate consequences of this type of theft. We are trying to personalize the often impersonal digital world to help change perceptions