Piracy 101 – Taking Action

Piracy has become quite the controversial topic in our country.  The mere mention of the word ‘copyright’ is likely to illicit passionate opinions one way or the other.  Nearly every day we read stories about producers suing someone over copyright infringement.  And yet a good four years after online piracy really exploded in popularity, many of you are still in the dark about what exactly online piracy is and what you can do about it.

What we call piracy today is actually made up of several different forms of copyright infringement, each with their own unique characteristics as diverse as the users that engage in them.  With these different variations of piracy, copyright holders need to implement strategies that are flexible depending on how their content is being attacked.  For example, spending thousands of dollars to locate and sue a Vietnamese uploader who is making $3/day from infringing your copyright is probably not a good idea.  On the other hand, allowing someone making millions of dollars trafficking in stolen property to get off with just a warning probably isn’t going to cut it either.

As a content owner you have options when it comes to how you approach the piracy problem.  While there is no one silver bullet to thwart the pirating of your content, you should enact a plan to mitigate the damage it does to your bottom line.

The first option is usually the gut reaction most people have when they find their content being pirated.  Sue any and everybody.  It’s natural to feel hurt when something you worked hard on is used by someone else without your permission and compensation.  While suing this person might sound satisfying at first, it shouldn’t be something you rush into.  Keep in mind that the allure of pirating is getting something for nothing.  As a result, a large segment of the piracy industry isn’t based upon making a lot of money.  This means that in many cases suing a pirate won’t net you any money in return, and you’ll likely spend quite a bit in lawyer’s fees to even get this person in court.  Before undertaking a lawsuit you should really sit down with your attorney and decide what you hope to get out of the litigation and if it is a winnable case.

The second option is to handle your piracy problem in-house.   Sounds great at first to keep costs down, but  time is money and you have to decide for yourself whether this is something you can afford to put long hours into at the expense of the rest of your duties, or whether it’s better to leave it up to the experts.  While it might be tempting to put this task on the same person that answers your phones, you need to consider what kind of results you would be getting by instead putting this matter in the hands of a skilled professional in the field of anti-piracy.

Another option you have is to simply do nothing and hope that someone else solves the problem for you.  For too long this was the option of preference for many copyright holders.  Eventually the piracy problem started affecting their bottom lines and content creators started taking a more vested interest in protecting their content.  However, the do-nothing approach is still rampant and actually contributing to growing the piracy industry.  To do nothing is to essentially license your content for free.  Pirated material rarely expires and unless someone removes it, a do-nothing approach results in more content for the piracy sites to offer.  Pirates will also figure out that your content can be pirated with impunity, making them more likely to steal your content than other pro-active producers.  In actuality, you’re only digging your own grave so it goes without saying that this is simply the worst and least responsible option.

Your last option is to contract an expert to help you in your piracy problem.  Your anti-piracy strategy will determine what kind of expert you need.  It could be a lawyer with experience in the field of Intellectual Property or it could be a content removal company like Takedown Piracy, and it could just be a combination of both.  A good content removal company can handle all the various types of piracy and in the event you decide you want to pursue litigation, they can often help you build your case.  In the case of Takedown Piracy, we have over years of experience dealing with piracy.  This means that we have built systems to reach piracy sites that you aren’t even aware of and we know how to get around the obstacles that pirates have tried to put in place to thwart us.  We’ve developed platforms like the Takedown Piracy Tips (http://www.takedownpiracy.com/tips) program that uses crowd-sourcing infringement reporters to help be your eyes and ears on the internet.  Takedown Piracy’s systems are built to be as efficient and as thorough as possible.  This means we know where to go to find your content, and who to contact to get it taken down as quickly as possible.  This is a process that by design can be difficult for copyright holders to master on their own.

Whatever strategy you employ, the most important thing is that you are doing something.  If every copyright owner were to enact some form of anti-piracy we could make life very difficult for these would-be thieves.

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