Monthly Archives: May 2014

Arrrghhh you a pirate? Brad Burnham’s ‘The Right to Privacy’

After tackling the piracy ethics topic for my essay, I’m still not convinced that my argument was overly compelling, but I certainly got some food for thought! I’d like to hear your thoughts on piracy, whether you’ve pirated content before, how you felt about it, and if you use file sharing services but also buy the media content you obtain (you buy a season after watching a few episodes, for example).

According to the Australian Digital Alliance (ADA) and the Australian Consumers’ Association (ACA), private sharing of copyrighted content is virtually imperceptible and unprofitable, and the term piracy should only concern “the unauthorised copying or importation of copyrighted material for resale of distribution on a commercial scale, in the knowledge of the infringing nature of the material” (Copyright infringement in Australia, clause 2.4).

I agree with this definition, although there is some malleability of the term. Is Burnham right in stressing the negative implications of intermediary relationships between ISP’s and their customers? Should they be policing our online activity or is it legally and ethically “a huge burden on the phone companies and internet services”? It’s interesting to consider how the ’empowering users’ rhetoric is in direct contrast with controlling and policing the behaviors of users.

I won’t copy and paste my essay and bore you to death with it, but very briefly, I came to the realisation that there wasn’t necessarily a strong causal link between declining media sales and file sharing, that Australian copyright law could improve itself by using a ‘fair use’ reform, and that it is unhelpful and ineffective to criminalise file sharing activities pertaining to private use, because business models regarding distribution and regulation on the internet are unrealistic.

Would love to hear your story or views on piracy, file sharing etc, even if they’re in complete opposition to mine! 🙂