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  (Source: www.ngonlinenews.com)
As the debate heats up, some question the definition of piracy.

It is quickly becoming evident that the issue of piracy is not going away anytime soon despite stepped up efforts to combat the problem. The Pirate Bay, a not-for-profit site was recently taken offline for providing downloadable software, music, movies and video games to its users.

loss of revenue stemming from internet piracy is a growing concern in Spain, while in the U.S., Voltage Pictures is in the process of suing at least 5,000 individuals for downloading the movie "The Hurt Locker" from a filesharing website.   

It appears that this hot-button topic will have far-reaching global and economic effects, but as media companies and government agencies position themselves to crackdown on unauthorized downloads of media content, some camps like the Free Software Foundation argue that it's important to first determine what piracy is before discussing whether or not it is truly a problem.

"We don’t agree with the term,” said Matt Lee, campaign manager for the FSF. “We use the term unauthorized copying."

FSF founder Richard Stallman added that while the selling of illegally licensed content is wrong, free distribution is altogether different.

"The position we take is that most creative works ought to be at least available for noncommercial sharing,” Lee said. “For example, if I copy a music file for you personally, that’s different than making 1,000 copies of it for a profit …We aren’t concerned with how to restrict people on how to get our software."

Matt Reid, president of communication at the Business Software Alliance (BSA), disagrees.  

"Theft of intellectual property is like any other form of theft," said Reid. "It is a very real impact on these companies. It may seem very small and incremental on an individual basis, but when you added up the impact of that, it really has an effect on these companies, and their ability to invest in the next generation of technology for all of us."

Reid believes that further government intervention, enforcement, and education is needed to combat the issue.

According to the Medill-Northwestern University website, the BSA just released a study indicating that the worldwide commercial value of unlicensed software reached $51.4 billion last year.  Microsoft, Apple and Adobe hold membership privileges with BSA.





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