In today’s media-rich society, digital content permeates every aspect of our ordinary everyday lives, and now more than ever, there is a heightened awareness regarding how some types of media content are obtained.
Throughout each day the types of content you engage and interact with come through different media platforms. From simple media such as books and magazines, to modern media such as television and the Internet, the ways in which we observe, use and interact with media content have changed as technology has advanced.
With a continuously expanding distribution and influence, media content has naturally come to a point where leaks have begun to spring in the system. Such leaks include the issues of media content piracy and copyright infringement.
In a basic sense, media piracy broadly refers to obtaining media content via the Internet without the proper permission or right to do so.
Recently, with the recent fifth season premiere of the HBO show “Game of Thrones,” the issue of media content piracy has again been brought to public attention.
On April 12, “Game of Thrones” premiered to its worldwide audience and amassed an estimated eight million viewers for the season premiere.
However, on April 11 it was reported that the first four episodes of this season had been leaked and were available online. The leak reportedly stemmed from a group that HBO had approved to preview the episodes, according to a statement made by HBO on the incident.
According to Variety.com, the leak first became available on torrent sites April 11 around 9 p.m., and in the first 12 hours over 770,000 individuals worldwide, had downloaded the four episodes, according to the piracy-tracking firm Excipio.
Recent reports tally that figure closer to 1.5 million downloads on the first day, according to Forbes.com.
With such a drastic number of downloads, the issue of content piracy has again become a subject of public discussion.
In such a media-rich environment the means through which we obtain content naturally adapt with the technology available to us, and with the Internet. seemingly anything can be obtained through a simple Google search.
Some means are perfectly fine, as California Lutheran University’s Zareh Marselian, Associate Provost of ISS, points out.
“There are legal uses for torrents and other sharing services, and there are artists who provide their work freely,” Marselian said. “There’s a fine line between freedom of speech and copyright protection.”
Marselian said Cal Lutheran’s computer use policies strictly prohibit the sharing of copyrighted materials and the use of university resources, such as the campus Internet, in doing so for personal financial gain.
How big of an exception is to be made then? How can it be made possible to fairly distinguish between the good and the bad, while keeping in consideration both the law and public opinion?
Even in an objective examination, such a task is a difficult one and in all likelihood outside the scope of a small college student writer.
Nonetheless, it is important to take note of my own approach to the matter. In truth, I see little issue in obtaining media content through alternative means using the technology we have.
But I have respect for those who can create something, that provokes a reaction from people after it is watched, listened to or used. I believe those who have the ability to make such influential media or content have the right to be recognized, and duly compensated for their accomplishments.
I also cannot help but keep in mind the notion that content created with the intent of being distributed, should value its distribution no matter the means.
With that being said, some types of media content, such as textbooks with their high prices and lack of buyback guarantee, should be made more available and accessible.
The law should always be kept in consideration, and although it may sound hypocritical, there must be a more acceptable balance between what is viewed as a right or wrong method of obtaining new media.
Published April 22nd, 2015