Watch 'Eclipse' online for free? Major antipiracy effort launched.
Online piracy took a hit from intellectual property rights authorities Wednesday, with the seizure of nine websites. Some offered illegal copies of the new Twilight movie, using the pitch 'watch 'Eclipse' online for free.'
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Estimates of the cost of Internet piracy run into the billions of dollars, but James Cooper, an intellectual property expert and researcher at California Western School of Law in San Diego, says such figures are nearly impossible to gauge and risk turning off the public with their inflated sums.Skip to next paragraph
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He cited a US Government Accountability Office report from last April that found that the illicit nature of counterfeiting and piracy makes estimating their costs difficult. "Efforts to estimate losses involve assumptions such as the rate at which consumers would substitute counterfeit for legitimate products, which can have enormous impacts on the resulting estimates,” the report found.
But “this issue isn’t just about making more money for fat-cat producers with swimming pools," says Mr. Cooper, who has written extensively on the subject. It's about "the little guys in the industry – the gaffers and caterers and sound people who are just trying to make a decent living,” he says.
The success of this crackdown will be judged on how well it can be sustained over time, Cooper says.
“Sometimes government and association initiatives like this make a big stir and then drop out of sight,” says Cooper, who directs Proyecto ACCESO, a program that strengthens the rule of law throughout the Americas. “There is often a disconnect between what [industry officials] know and what conditions are like on the ground. This sounds very promising but I will take a wait-and-see attitude.”
Others agree that stopping piracy will prove difficult, and may involve considerable expense that will be passed on to consumers.
“Piracy will be with us for the foreseeable future,” says Christopher Sharrett, a professor of communication and film studies at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. The Internet "is seen as a source of free goods easily accessed," he says. "The wide-ranging consequences of all this are yet to be seen, but I suspect, as in any kind of theft, that consumers will be faced with higher prices and fees to offset piracy.”
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