A study conducted by YouGov reported that levels of piracy went as high as 53% in the 25-34 age demographic alone, with 47% of online users who accessed piracy sites canceling their subscriptions to both local and international content platforms.
Nearly a majority of them, however, are aware of the risks linked to online piracy. Among the top risks that concern users include funding crime groups (55%), loss of jobs in the creative industry (50%), and malware risks (49%).
If they are aware of these risks, why do users who are into online piracy still take the risk at all?
I must make a discretion that I’m in no way supporting online piracy, but as a cheapskate myself, I am also one of those shameless online users enjoying pirated content, from watching online TV shows to downloading video games.
But as a mad lad who had once walked the plank, I share the sentiments of those who are still relying on online pirated content for that fundamental reason: why pay for it if you can get it for free?
While many of these users are aware of the risks involved, it might be just a matter of being even more cautious for them. They just need to invest more in beefing up their security so that they can get access to free content from other sources.
What about the government, you ask? True, it has been taking up some steps to address the issue, such as the filing of Senate Bill 497 or the Online Infringement Act. But legislation is not enough.
Piracy has long been existing in the Philippines. It’s also not practical to define what is illegally taken or not while still grasping at straws to navigate ourselves in the ever-evolving technology.
The concept of online piracy is still a broad area to tackle and will take a lot of time. Imagine being sued for copyright infringement because you tweeted a funny dog meme? Unlikely.
Even if the government tries its best to target sites that host illegal content, online pirates will always be one step ahead as long as there’s a market for online piracy.
Site owners who host such content just change their web-domain address or change their web hosting platform altogether to create a new one. Users, on the other hand, simply find other similar sites and there is a lot out there on the Internet.
What’s the solution then? I don’t know the answer to that, sadly. But there are clear takeaways that I elaborated above as to why online piracy will never go away, and it all boils down to this: we get the content for free, if not at a lower price.
The power of consumer demand sometimes leads to grave consequences like online piracy. In this case, it shows that consumers are not always right.