piracy is the practice of violating intellectual property rights by downloading
a file containing material copyrighted by someone else. The laws governing
Internet piracy are intended to secure the rights of creators, such as the
right to secure financial compensation through the process of making works
publicly available and acknowledge that there are certain forms of copying
which may not be allowed for or encouraged by creators which are nonetheless permissible
and not damaging to the creator’s rights.
A copyright infringementdefense may be mounted in a
court of law that refers to the prior such case, which is referred to as the
“fair use” doctrine and is allowed for under American law on Internet
piracy and other forms of intellectual property right violations. Failing a
successful copyright infringement defense, intellectual property right
violators may be liable for both criminal and civil penalties.
A civil suit over an act of
Internet piracy can open up the responsible party to compensating the copyright
owner for the damages to her or his ability to derive material benefit from the
content. United States statutes name damages of $30,000 and increased penalties
of $150,000 for cases in which the action was “willful.” Due to the
relatively brief amount of time for which most software has existed, even
intellectual property which is not being used commonly is likely to still be
subject to law, and the copyright infringement defense of
“abandonware” is, therefore, unlikely to hold water.
referred to as the “Safe Harbor” clause, which
establishes a means for service providers to enjoy safety from liability for
their users’ actions. Service providers who do not comply with its provisions
may be served with criminal or civil suits under a charge of vicarious
liability or contributory infringement.
circumstance of someone accused of Internet piracy not having been aware of
existing laws is not an admissible form of copyright infringement defense in
court when the defendant is accused of having personally committed the act of
internet piracy, but may be allowed when the defendant’s part was only
In addition to direct acts of Internet piracy,
copyright law also covers the means through which such actions are aided and
accomplished. The wide-ranging set of laws put in place by the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act cover actions aimed at “circumvention” of
the technical means through which copyright holders seek to block instances of
Internet piracy and various violations.