It is a fundamental aspect of human nature that most people will steal something if there is no danger of getting caught. And this is what has happened to the recorded music industry. Most music residing on MP3 players in the world is stolen, it has been downloaded over the internet using peer to peer filesharing. In fact most young people today think that it is quite normal and acceptable to steal in this way and they kick up a fuss when someone tries to stop them.
With the advent of broadband this stealing spread to movies. So now every movie is available online before it is in the cinema. And many millions of people are regularly stealing from the film industry. To these thieves it is the acceptable norm.
Which brings us to games. To a large extent these have the DRM protection of being on a console. Where this breaks down, as in boxed PC games, the market is decimated and the supply of new products dwindles to a trickle.
The thieves make lots of excuses for their thieving. Such as the fact that one incremental copy does not cost the producer anything. But they miss the fundamental moral point that they are benefiting from another person’s work without contributing towards it. And if everyone steals, then who will pay for new music, films and games to be made?
The only way to stop this stealing is to stop the illegal traffic on the internet. It currently comprises well over a half of all internet traffic, so widespread is the stealing. The French have introduced a law that thieves will have their internet connections stopped if they offend repeatedly. This approach is what a lot of governments and a lot of the industries involved want. So if it works in France it will be rolled out to other countries.
This stealing is not victimless, the recorded music industry has been decimated, the film industry is suffering from a huge loss of revenues and the games industry has just about deserted several gaming platforms. All this means people losing their jobs and less content being produced.
In the UK the creative industries contribute £112.5 billion (or 8%) to the economy and provide 1.8 million jobs. It has been researched that half of this is at risk from illegal file sharing. So something has to be done. Peer to peer downloading is the biggest epidemic of theft in the history of mankind. The law has not kept up with the technology and everyone will be a lot worse off until it does.