Sunday, 10 January 2016

Issue: Illegal Downloads and Software Piracy

Choose one of these issues, relevant to the level you will be teaching, to investigate further. While you will have already investigated acceptable use policies there may be other issues related to safety you wish to explore further.
Use the links listed in the text as a starting point for your research.
Post a brief summary of your findings to your blog.
As an educational institution, our schools are responsible for leading the way as digital citizens. This includes providing staff and students with legal software. Piracy and illegal downloads are not uncommon. According to one article, 1 in 10 Europeans admit to illegally downloading, with the number likely to have been higher (Debating Europe). 

There are two organisations whose roll is to police the illegal downloads of music and video. These organisations are: Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Doug Chappell said that people need to "understand that digital theft does not only hurt the artist or the record label but also every one who works for them or is a supplier to them ie: couriers, recording studios, graphic artists, office workers, accountants, press and promotion people. The list goes very deep of those that will lose jobs or income due to the theft" (Wolfe-Wylie, 2012).

It is also important to know that copyright laws vary from country to country. While living in China, the copyright laws were very loose and didn't really exist. One of the main search sites in China, Baidu, actually supported and to some extent encouraged illegal downloading. It always boggled my mind that Google was blocked, VPNs were blocked but yet downloading music was so easily accessible in such a country. 

Nowadays, options such as Netflix and Spotify provide users with a wide range of songs and videos for a minimal monthly fee for unlimited views. Using these options also moves people toward a legal option of paid streaming with Spotify paying royalties (Spotify Artists, 2015). This ensures that these industries are properly being supported. 

We should continue to educate our students about illegal downloads, the impacts on industries and the impact on us if it is continued. Our students need to know that while one song downloaded may not seem to be an issue, one song multiplied by many times and many individuals definitely does add up. As educators, we should be the role models for our students and teach the alternatives to illegally downloading with legal options. 

Debating Europe (2015). What would save the music industry from piracy?

Spotify Artists. (2015). How spotify is contributing to the music industry.

Wolfe-Wylie, W. (2012). Music piracy hurts. Toronto Sun.

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