People and businesses who make a habit out of pirating digital content often reason that it's a relatively victimless crime. But a new study has found that stealing intellectual property does have the potential to hurt people -- a lot of people.
Not so very long ago, the protests against a piece of legislation designed to fight online piracy and protect intellectual property were at a deafening pitch. The U.S. House of Representative's Stop Online Privacy Act, which would have made it easier for government and copyright holders to crack down on websites offering pirated content, was taken offline, so to speak, after Internet fixtures such as Google and Wikipedia led a massive protest against it and the U.S. Senate's Protect IP Act, arguing that the laws would promote online censorship, stifle innovation and change the Web as we know it.
Several Hollywood studios banded together to successfully protect their intellectual property rights from a "family-friendly" company that was redistributing altered versions of their films. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Paramount, Warner Bros., MGM, Disney, Universal and Fox filed a lawsuit against Family Edited DVDS, Inc.
Two recent intellectual property disputes have made the news, one involving Microsoft Corp. and the other involving the author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling. U.S. computer software company Microsoft is cracking down on the piracy of its software in China. On the other side of litigation is J.K. Rowling and her publisher, Scholastic, who are defending against an intellectual property lawsuit. The lawsuit claims Rowling stole the intellectual property of another British author in order to create one of the books in her wildly popular Harry Potter series.