Online Piracy is illegal.

scroll to animate



A cultural revolution, from VHS and vinyl records to unlimited online streaming.

Online Piracy is illegal.

"Online piracy is the unauthorized reproduction or use of copyrighted material."

Online Piracy is illegal.

The phenomenon of online piracy involves many actors, whose behavior recalls an ecosystem composed of two colonies that, forced into a single environment circumscribed, colliding and comparing each other since their birth. On one side there are those who produce and sell contents, on the other side those who feed the piracy instead, freely spreading the material produced by the former.

Online piracy was officially recognized in 1998 with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act when for the first time in the US are made illegal production and dissemination of technologies, tools or services that can be used to bypass the conditions of access to works protected by copyright. Since this measure started the fight between the two sides, a fight that is still going on:

1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

Year after year the defenders of copyright struggled against piracy, but is that all?

Sometimes the stories are like “there is someone who breaks the law and there is someone else who fights for legality”, but this is not that kind of story.

Online piracy is illegal. But... there are many “BUT”.

The research about the opinions expressed by the web reveals a reality incredibly multifaceted, where "legal" does not always correspond to the right and where "illegal" can sometimes also imply a new way to success.

Online piracy
is illegal but someone on the web justifies it.

This doubt is supported not only by the opinions of ordinary people but also by "objective" academic studies in which there is an obvious general confusion surrounding this issue.

No one can really say how much Online Piracy has damaged the industry.

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013

Click on the bubbles to read academic studies quotes

So many ideas, so many effectual argumentations but all contradicting each other. Despite the clear position of the law it can not be divided clearly between right and wrong. The opinions outside are conflicting, but inside the ecosystem there are certainties: there is someone who feeds the events in function of an upstream cause, a need that must be satisfied.

The needs of users is to share their passions in the most convenient and economical way as possible; what once were the copied tapes and recorded vhs, today are shared files on the network. Piracy is born from that, from the possibility and the ability to exploit the new technology in favor of this need. Many have tried, one by one, some with success and some not, ignoring laws and lawsuits.

A messy team, with heterogeneous objectives and philosophies. They’re independent and, sometimes, rivals.
So, who is feeding piracy?

However, an equally fierce anti-piracy front opposes to these: it’s compact, unchanging over time and ideals, a group of entrepreneurs, institutions, associations and authors, strongly hierarchical and united in the common defense of copyright and of its economic gains.

Pirates and defenders of copyright, two organisms, two ideologies forced to live together and interact with each other. On one side a group that gathers strength from the legality of his position to work together and compacted, on the other side individual pirates struggle in the dark every day risking legal consequences for their actions.

Going beyond the main weave and analyzing piracy deeper it’s easy to see that the logic “justice = fight against lawlessness” is only a single part of what this phenomenon really is.

Piracy has developed in relation to a need of users which is also changed with the evolution of piracy itself.

The legal front is also different from 15 years ago, maybe it is more inclined to change than what it wants to suggest through its own inflexibility.

But where would we be today if no one had given rise to this phenomenon?

Has the presence of pirates only led to a tightening of the confrontation between righteousness and online lawlessness or has it also triggered an evolution in the creative industry?

Let’s look back to the story with more consciousness:

1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014

By looking at the situation of the phenomenon it is highlighted that to date some services have developed and, even though born from legal parents, they meet the needs of users in a similar way of illegal platforms allowing the fruition of copyrighted content without restriction and in a economical way. This reflects the fact that the defender front of copyright has undertaken an evolution after the appearance and spread of piracy.