Computer crime: File sharing and piracy
Almost everybody has some kind of a digital device these days — it could be your smart phone, tablet, or even your personal computer. Unfortunately, these devices have been exacerbating the old traditional crimes. Crimes committed through digital devices are called computer crimes, referred to as cybercrimes hereafter.
One of the most common type of cybercrime is piracy of movies and music. The catch to this is, the criminal nature of it is not as ‘common’ as we think it is. In countries like America, piracy is a huge problem, but the opposite is true in developing countries like South Africa.
Personally, I knew about piracy as I would witness it around the neighborhood while growing up, but didn’t know it was an illegal act. The first time I heard about the illegal nature of it was December 2021 when I was reading Trevor Noah’s ‘Born a Crime’ memoir. Still, I did not understand how downloading music online, copying it into a CD and then selling it would be illegal.
Piracy is academically defined as the illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted materials, either for personal or financial gain. The truth is, piracy is indeed illegal as it violates the right to one’s intellectual property.
Most people in the rural areas have very little knowledge regarding piracy, and the consequences thereof. The digital divide between technology and the people in rural areas plays a major role in the perception of cybercrimes. Those that do know that it is a crime continue to take part in it as it does not physically harm the victim like the old traditional crimes do.
A lot of cybercrimes, especially piracy, still go unnoticed, unreported, or simply just ignored; and a lot of law officials do not monitor them like they monitor traditional crimes.