Tag Archives: legal

Why Availability isn’t Everything with Piracy

Why Availability isn’t Everything with Piracy

Open SignWhen I’m asked what I suggest copyright holders do to reduce piracy, my first answer is almost always the same: Make sure that potential customers have legitimate access to the work in question.

The reason is breathtakingly simple: If you don’t make a work available, it will be pirated, quite literally, 100% of the time. Though I believe this is the creator’s/rightsholder’s choice to make, if we start the conversation with the idea that reducing piracy is the primary goal, the easiest and most effective single step one can take is increasing legitimate access to their work.

This closely mirrors a common point made by individuals who oppose attempts to strengthen copyright law, namely that increased enforcement and increased legislation are not nearly as effective as increased legitimate access. We see this in other reports as well including reports about how Spotify is helping reduce music piracy in the countries it is active.

But while I agree with all of that, increasing access to copyrighted works is not a silver bullet to stopping piracy. As the Spotify report referenced above shows, even with Spotify and it’s access to free, legal music, some 22% of individuals in the Netherlands aged 15 and up downloaded illegal music. Much of that content, inevitably, was almost certainly available on Spotify to begin with or on other legitimate channels such as YouTube.

To be clear, between 2008 and 2012, there was a significant drop in music piracy, namely a drop from 32% to 22% of people. That’s nearly a one-third reduction in the number of people who pirated music. Still, it’s by no means an elimination of piracy.

To make matters worse, despite widespread growth, Spotify is still losing money and is still paying artists very little. In short, if Spotify can’t improve its financials, any reduction it caused may short lived and, if it can’t help support artists, it may not do much good.

While I’m the first to agree that availability is important, it is only part of the solution and any lasting answer is going to be more than just making copyrighted works available, it’s going to be a combination of multiple variables working together.Continue Reading

The Varying Ethics of Plagiarism

The Varying Ethics of Plagiarism

Is ghostwriting a form of plagiarism? What about recycling your content? These aren’t easy questions and sometimes the deed itself hardly matters at all. Continue Reading

The 3 Types of Copyright Conversations

The 3 Types of Copyright Conversations

Talking about copyright can be very difficult but it isn’t just high emotions and misinformation that the problem. The dialog itself is problematic.Continue Reading

Self-Plagiarism: Ethical Shortcut or Moral Scourge?

Self-Plagiarism: Ethical Shortcut or Moral Scourge?

Self-plagiarism has become a topic of hot debate in academia and elsewhere. But is it an issue worth worrying about?Continue Reading

DMCA Game Answer

First off, congratulations to Jeremy Steele for successfully guessing which notice was correct! Due to an appeal to the Plagiarism Today Supreme Court, namely my wife, Jeremy has been declared the winner of the contest and I’ve been ordered to pay a heavy fine for being evil. So Jeremy, congratulations. You earned it by figuringContinue ReadingContinue Reading

Game: Find the Valid DMCA Notice

Often times, on this site and elsewhere, we criticize hosts for their poor handling of the DMCA while chiding Webmasters and other laypeople who make mistakes while filing DMCA notices. Though the criticism of hosts is a little more fair since they were one of the parties pushing for the notice and takedown provision, theContinue ReadingContinue Reading

New Feature: Stock DMCA and C&D Letters

The most commonly requested feature for Plagiarism Today has been stock letters to help you send out either cease and desist or DMCA notices. If you’ve been waiting for such a feature, then today is your lucky day. Though I’ve posted sample letters as part of I’ve now added it as a permanent part ofContinue Reading