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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Nov 21

Written by:
11/21/2012 6:16 AM  RssIcon

I'll admit straight up: About 90 percent of the time that I'm online, I never consider from where an image or file may have originated. So, if I want to hammer away at my own lax standard, it's pretty easy to argue that I really don't care about Internet piracy.

Hey, at least I own it, and this is coming from someone whose career at least keeps the issue topical on occasion.

Problem is, though, it seems as if it is the same conversation every time: Someone is upset that they aren't getting paid for content or files or intellectual rights that "somehow" became available to the world's online community. Ever since Metallica went to war with Napster, suits have flown fast and furiously. Just ask Limewire (sued multiple times including in 2004 and again last year... for $75 trillion). Content producers have even gone after individuals — all in the name of cracking down on piracy.

Is attempting to protect your already protected content wrong? Of course not. But, the timeline from over the last decade shows the much larger issue — way bigger than a few folks who may or may not have been acting on some sort of sinister agenda and leaking unreleased music or film to a competitor or the public.

The issue is most folks are like me. We don't care enough to stop it. And, for those of us who sometimes do, a large percentage of that group can't even tell if what they have or receive is illegal content at all. London-based Ofcom just released a study earlier this week that illustrates how widespread sharing apathy truly is.

According to the study, 47 percent of those studied in the UK were unsure whether the content they consumed was legally obtained. Almost half! Many reactionary pieces immediately cried for better education among consumers. I'd say it's less about knowledge and more about casual saaviness, considering more than half (54 percent) consumed illegally simply because it was free. In other words, if it's there, why not? There's no honor system in today's online world.

Therefore, since it has been from the beginning, the onus has been on content creators, producers and gatekeepers to determine the best way to protect their artistic wares. Much is made about security in our broadcasting industry these days. But, while security programs and protocols continue to improve, I ask you Experts, is it somewhat a waste of time when consumers really aren't concerned with even knowing if what they have obtained is legal or not?

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