Internet piracy is considered the most important
issue facing the enforcement of copyright laws today. Media companies,
particularly those which specialize in films and music, have been strongly affected
by the ease in digital downloading which the Internet allows even for users
relatively lacking in technical expertise.
such means for digital downloading exists in the form of peer-to-peer services,
though more sophisticated users may attempt to directly hack into other
computers. Operators of services allowing downloading may also be liable for
prosecution. In the United States, such actions have been prohibited since the
1976 No Electronic Theft Act.