Let’s take a quick poll. Raise your hand if you’ve pirated music, movies, software, or any kind of media. If you’re raising your hand, you’re probably an average teenager/young adult. If you’re not raising your hand, you’re probably either lying or over the age of 40. Since so many media pirates are younger, one has to wonder what the consequences should be for being caught infringing on media copyrights.
Turned in for torrents
Yesterday, a 15 year-old student went on trial for downloading and sharing 24 movies. The young pirate was reportedly turned over to the police by the head teacher at his school. The teacher felt it a necessary action after a virus infected the school’s network, seemingly due to the student’s actions.
These kinds of situations always kind of puzzle me. Every once in a while, I’ll hear about someone being arrested or fined for being caught with pirated materials, but we all know they’re not the only ones. It’s easy to overlook these occurrences, because it seems only about 1 out of every 1000 pirates faces any consequences. Thinking from the perspective of a teenager, the likelihood of getting caught is almost 0%.
A change for the ages?
With the knowledge that youth generally don’t think as older citizens do, does it makes sense to revise copyright laws for them? Should teenage pirates be exempt from jail-time? My answer is no.
While I think it’s pretty messed up that the aforementioned teacher turned in the student, I’m sure the young pirate learned a good lesson. You see, piracy (more accurately known as copyright infringement) is illegal. I’m sure most pirates know this, but they don’t really think about it. If they’re caught, they may as well be shoplifting, or stealing right from someone’s pocket.
Regardless of age, those guilty of piracy should be prepared to face fines, and even jail-time (depending on the extent of their violation). If you’re willing to take the risk, then that’s your choice. Personally, my conscience won’t allow me to take anything that doesn’t rightfully belong to me. If you think about it, your conscience may have the same effect on you.
What do you think? Should age dictate the consequences of piracy or any other crime?