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Piracy is a form of theft that refers to the theft of intellectual property. This can include multiple types of digital property including software programs, ebooks, movies, and music. Piracy has a tremendous impact that not only affects the property owner themselves but also on those who are responsible for distributing the material as well. Each loses a substantial amount of income every time there is piracy involved with their material.

Whether you go to see a movie in theaters or watch a movie at home the chances are you will see a piracy warning before the movie even gets started. It gives the audience a stern warning letting them know that there will be severe penalties in the stance that there is any type of reproduction or distribution of the copyrighted material that they are about to watch. This allows viewers to know that movies are copyrighted material, they cannot be used in any commercial fashion without first being granted approval.

The effects of piracy can be felt severely. Widespread piracy is very difficult for law enforcement to get a handle on. Unfortunately, companies continue to financially lose because of this type of theft. Major streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon lose close to $50 billion a year due in part to the amount of pirated material that is stolen from their material. Music piracy alone costs upwards of $12 billion a year he Recording Industry Association of America estimates. The problem with digital piracy is that it’s so massive in size it is difficult to understand on a full scale.

The copyright holders and businesses that distribute the digital material are not the only ones who feel the after-effects of piracy though. Those individuals who are actually behind the pirating action run the risk of massive fines due to copyright infringement. They could possibly face a fine of upward to $150,000 for each violation they are charged with. Those distributors who may be providing access to copyrighted material will also face severe consequences. One of the most popular examples of this was the music streaming service Napster. They were taken down in 2001 after numerous lawsuits due to copyrighted material being streamed on their site.