It is estimated that annually more than $20 billion in copyrighted movies, music, and other entertainment is lost to global piracy networks that are tolerated or encouraged by countries like China, Russia, India, and even Canada. The rate of digital media piracy is so prevalent in today’s society that entertainment industry insiders estimate that only one in three music CDs and about one in twenty music downloads are sold legitimately worldwide. In 2002, the Motion Picture Association of America estimated that between 400,000 and 600,000 movies were downloaded illegally each day. That number was projected to triple by 2010.
While several individuals and software companies (Napster, Kazaa, etc.) have been held liable for their infringing activities, the online conduits that have made piracy possible have remained blameless. As this paper will illustrate, the current anti-pirating laws, have not effectively neutralized the conduits through which this pirated media is trafficked.
The purpose of this note is to examine and analyze the international struggle and subsequent legal efforts taken by the United States and the European Union to protect copyright in the digital age. This note takes the position that the current measures employed by the United States and the European Union are not effective in combating international media piracy. Additionally, this note emphasizes that media piracy, also referred to as digital copyright infringement, is a global problem that will only be eradicated through an international effort. Finally, this note will evaluate the efficacy of current domestic and foreign legislation specifically focused on preventing the Internet trafficking of pirated copyrighted works, and the subsequent duties and liability of Internet Service Providers.