– Why do people pay $60 for a game when they can just download it off a torrent for free?
– Downloading games from torrents is ILLEGAL! The developers will be unable to earn money for their hard work and will probably lose their jobs when you pirate games!!!
The above conversation is what you typically witness in forums or chat rooms when the topic somehow shifts to the issue of piracy; some people are in favor of it, some are strongly opposed to it, and some just don’t care.
But Who’s really right? Who’s in the wrong? To find the answer, first we must see what piracy exactly is. And for that we need to know about the exact meaning of copyright:
“A copyright is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to the creator of an original work or their assignee for a limited period of time upon disclosure of the work.” “To encourage a dynamic culture, while returning value to creators so that they can lead a dignified economic existence, and to provide widespread, affordable access to content for the public.”
Before the passing of copyright law, people used to write books as a hobby. To encourage people to write books and be creative (which would in turn benefit the whole society) the governments began to give the authors “the right to copy their works”. This meant that only the authors were allowed to copy their books, so they were the only people who were able to sell them. This would become a source of income for the authors, letting them live by simply writing and being creative. A copyright will expire 70 years after the death of the author, so the authors can even write when they’re old, leaving the income of their books for their families.
If the copyright law didn’t exist, anyone could copy a book and sell it to the public for any price he desired, leaving the original author with little to no income for living. Although the copyright law originally applied to only the copying of books, today it covers a wide range of works, including maps, sheet music, dramatic works, paintings, photographs, architectural drawings, sound recordings, motion pictures and computer programs.
“The first Copyright law, passed in 1710”
“Copyright infringement is the unauthorized or prohibited use of works under copyright, infringing the copyright holder’s exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works.”
“The copyright infringement of software (often imprecisely referred to as software piracy) refers to several practices which involve the unauthorized copying of computer software.”