Solution Proposal Alex T

The Consequences of Piracy

Piracy and illegal downloading of anime, manga, and software is a hard thing to stop. There are many factors that contribute to it. There are ways to help slow down piracy, but there has not been a successful way to stop piracy completely. Piracy may not seem like a big deal but it can have a very big impact on the economy.

Piracy is found in many countries but I will be focusing on three countries and how they have tried to stop people from pirating. The three that I will be focusing on are: the United States, Japan, and Sweden, each of which has tried and failed to stop piracy and illegal downloading completely. People have a variety of different reasons why they feel the need to watch, read or download something illegally rather than buy it and why it is hard to stop piracy completely. Some of the reasons include: the inaccessibility of legal goods, easy access to illegal goods, false belief that no one is really hurt by illegal downloading, and finally that countries are having a hard time finding support for their effort to stop piracy.

Japan loses around $5.5 billion every year due to the illegal watching and reading of anime and manga (Bennett). Anime is the name given to Japanese animated television shows and manga is Japanese graphic novels. Japan, in an attempt to stop piracy, began an anti-piracy campaign back in July 2014 which demanded that about 300 illegal websites be shut down and their content be deleted (Japan begins anti-piracy campaign against 300 internet sites). To try to get more people to purchase legal goods METI, or the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry started a website which allows people to be able to purchase legal goods in the same way that they could illegally download (METI). This is one way that countries can slow down piracy since some people claim that they illegally download due to the unavailability of legal goods where they live. Another thing that can help is that some legitimate sites such as Netflix have certain anime on their list, if more people started using that site then they are legally viewing them. The problem with this is that the sites themselves only have a limited number of anime and no manga at all on their list. If websites like these added more anime and included a section where manga can be read then more people would use these sites and money would be put back into the economy.

If there were more stores which sold anime and manga people could be able to purchase what they want from there. Walmart has a few seasons of certain anime such as Sailor Moon, Pokemon, Digimon, and a few other anime; Walmart also has a few volumes of certain manga such as, Naruto and Bleach. These are just a few of hundreds of anime and manga, most of these are the shows most commonly known, the less known ones are not usually sold at these stores, if there was a better selection at these stores then more people could have access to them and more people could get into these types which would help out the artists in the end and get more money into the economy. The only way Walmart will do this however, is if they see that this is what people want, they probably will not stock something that people will not buy. There are other stores that sell anime and manga, such as Barnes & Noble, the only problem with this is for people who do not live in a city big enough to have a Barnes & Noble store. If there were more store locations then people could buy from them instead of illegally downloading.

There are stores dedicated completely to anime and manga, these stores are usually found in a mall. The closest one to here that I can think of is Mall of America, for someone who lives up here that can be a bit too far to drive just for anime and manga. If there were more stores then people could buy from them instead of illegally downloading. There are also conventions which happen every year, these attract anime and manga fans which would help with business. Anime conventions usually have a place where stands are set up, either by collectors looking to sell their collection, by artists themselves looking to sell their art, or by shops looking to sell their wares. If there were more conventions then more people could find what they were looking for and they are good for the local economy.

There are many anime and manga related goods on certain websites such as Amazon. This is one way to purchase things legally but some people do not want to deal with the hassle. Most of the anime and manga related goods come from China which can be expensive to ship and an inconvenience. If it was easier to ship and purchase these items then people might consider this over illegally downloading. Some people do not want to purchase things from overseas however but it was made easier and more reliable then people might turn to this option over illegally downloading. I purchased several items from Amazon for Halloween, they came from China and I did not receive several of the items until Thanksgiving break, this has made me wary of purchasing anything from China. If this was made easier and more reliable then people might turn to it.

Anime and manga are not the only thing that can be illegally downloaded, software and songs here in the US are usually pirated. It was not that long ago when Limewire was a big issue, instead of buying songs on iTunes, people would go to Limewire and download their songs for free. This problem ended up with people being fined large sums of money to the artists. Limewire itself was shut down but new websites opened in its place. The US may have won the battle against Limewire but they are losing the war against piracy. If you shut down one site others will more than likely open in its place, like with Limewire. The possible cause of this is the belief that no one is really hurt by illegal downloading, this is not a true belief because the people who are not usually associated with the music company are the ones who are hurt. The people who make the CD's and the people who ship them to stores are the ones who will lose money, not the music industry (Greenblatt). Software piracy is hurting the economy, the money that should have gone to the music industry is not being put into the market, the company will ship out less and less which puts truck drivers out of a job, this can have a big impact on the economy (Marshall).

There have been efforts to stop pirating of computer software. Certain games will have a code which is different for every disk, during the installation process the code must be entered in. This is one way to try to stop people from letting their friends or family install a disk which they purchased. This may not seem like piracy but it is still counted because the company which makes the software is not receiving compensation from whoever installed it from the original disk. This method of stopping piracy can be a problem though. I bought a computer game and installed it into my computer; my computer died and I bought a new one but because the code only worked once I also had to purchase a new game as well. This method can be an inconvenience to those who do not pirate but who have something unforeseen happen to them.

Another way to slow down piracy is to make the illegal websites harder to find. If someone cannot find what they are looking for then it might encourage people to switch to buying legal goods. The only way to do this would be to get search engines like Google and Yahoo to agree to make certain things such as illegal anime and manga sites harder to find. If the government got involved then this might be a possibility. Another option would be to have a filter which would take down websites which contained illegal content. YouTube has a filter which checks the videos and takes down ones which contain copyrighted songs or movies. If search engines did this and took down sites that had copyrighted materiel then people would have no choice but to turn to legal websites. There is a problem with this idea however, some people believe that this can be considered censorship and how people would not stand for it (Clemmitt).

The only other way to stop, or at least slow down piracy would be to educate the people on how illegal downloading hurts people and how it can hurt the economy. To be able to educate people on who is hurt the government might have to fund this or put out a commercial which shows the images of who is really hurt and why piracy is a big deal. If more people could see the faces of who is really hurt then they might hesitate to click on the download icon. The artist who wrote the music that is being illegally downloaded, the person who drew the anime and manga which is loved, the person who makes the CD's which the music is put onto, and even the person who drives the CD's from the manufacturer to the stores (Clemmitt). If people see who is being hurt or something which causes them to feel guilt by illegal downloading this might cause them to stop, the same with if people start watching legally and are given something in return or are made to feel like they are doing something good they might stick with legal goods and encourage others to watch legally. Japan is trying this sort of technique with its new law, when someone goes onto the new website they created a movie is shown exclusively there which shows a mixture from several different manga and anime saying "Thank You" (METI). By doing this they are trying to play on people's emotions by showing beloved characters thanking them for their contribution in stopping piracy.

Sweden, back in 2009, created an anti-piracy reform which they hoped would stop the illegal downloading of music. Initially it started to work, music sales increased by 36% and internet trafficking by 16%. This only lasted for about six months when people started turning to illegally downloaded music again. The problem that was not seen before hand was the lack of police enforcement (Adermon, Liang). Once people saw that the police were not doing anything or barely anything to people who pirated music they started to do it again. This shows that simply saying that illegal downloading will cause legal problems but not actually enforcing it will not work. To be able to stop it by threat there needs to be some way to back it up otherwise it is just an empty threat. If the police had enforced the reform more than something might have been different, on the other hand people might have still ignored the warning anyway. If a law is to be successful it needs support from its law enforcement.

The law mentioned above that Japan recently put into place is still a fairly new thing. The owners of the illegal websites were given five months to delete their content otherwise legal actions would be taken upon them (Japan begins anti-piracy campaign against 300 Internet sites). It has been almost a year since this threat was issued and there are still many anime sites on the internet. The problem with the law is almost like the problem that Sweden was having, not enough support backing it up. Japan can only take down sites which are owned and operated in Japan. Many websites are owned by people living in the United States and China. If Japan wants to take down these sites it needs support from these two other countries(Bennett). Since they have not gotten support they have not been able to make much progress in their efforts to stop illegal downloading of anime and manga. If they want to stop it they need the support which they have been denied.

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