Copyright piracy is the infringement of a copyright by someone, typically to achieve financial gain. Though the term is typically reserved for those who profit from such infringement, the general usage of “piracy” has recently been extended to those who infringe upon a copyright without financial gain. This is not a form of theft, but is a separate type of criminal action that can lead to civil lawsuit against the violator by the legal owner of a copyright. Copyright piracy often occurs with digital media such as video and audio recordings, E-books, and video games.
A copyright is a form of ownership protection extended to the creator of a work of art or artistic creation. This is established the moment someone creates the artwork, regardless of whether the copyright is registered with a government or private agency. Copyright piracy is another term for copyright infringement in which copyrighted materials are copied or sold without permission of the owner of the copyright. This copyright piracy can take a number of different forms, and historically has been done to make financial gains off of a property owned by someone else.
In modern usage, copyright piracy can refer to just about any type of copyright infringement in which materials owned by someone are disseminated by someone else without permission. This can include file sharing over the Internet through a number of different methods and services that allow Internet users to share digital media. While anyone can legally share files that he or she owns the copyright on, sharing of media that is not owned by the sharer is often illegal and considered copyright piracy.
Many forms of copyright piracy involve financial gain on behalf of the person using the materials that he or she does not own. This can include selling “pirated” copies of music, books, movies, or video games in person or through the Internet. These copies are typically made inexpensively and royalties are not paid to the copyright owner based on the sales.
One of the major issues regarding copyright piracy is the loss of profits by the owner of the copyright and others involved. Pirated copies of movies sold make money for the person or company creating the copies and typically do not pass on any profits to the studio that produced the film or the actors and crew members involved with the production. Such studios and artists are concerned that people who can acquire a movie or book for less money or free of charge will do so, rather than purchase a legal copy and support those who made the product.