What To Tell Your Kids About Online Piracy

Jan 20, 2012 10:40 AM ET

Internet Safety for Kids & Families - Advice for Schools & Families From Trend …

By Lynette Owens 

This past Wednesday, Wikipedia and many other online communities decided to blackout their websites for as long as 24 hours in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA).  These two pieces of U.S. legislation are intended to stop the distribution of pirated music, movies and television shows online.  At the moment, due to the protest and concerns voiced by numerous organizations, it currently appears support for these two bills is waning.  While many are not necessarily against stopping online piracy, they are strongly opposed to the way these bills propose to address it, as they threaten many things ranging from free speech to privacy to the security of the Internet. (Trend Micro is officially opposed to them.)   Despite your stance on these two bills, one thing is clear: the music, movie, and television industries have spent a lot of time and money to address piracy.  Stronger actions will be taken against those who engage in producing and consuming pirated material in some form.  In countries like the UK and France, this is already true.  And whether or not you believe the music and movie industries are suffering major monetary losses due to rampant piracy, there are important shifts going on that we all need to aware of so we are ready for them and can guide kids accordingly.   First, to state the obvious, kids love music and movies.  Regarding music specifically, teens spend 16 hours a week with it, more than any other form of media according to YPulse.   Second, there is a shift in obtaining media online and how we consume it.  The shift is in attitudes and technology that gives us the opportunity to either own or just access music.  It’s the difference between buying specific songs on iTunes and owning them versus paying for a subscription to Rhapsody to hear any song you want.  There are many options in both camps, though the newer services fall under the subscription camp.   Lastly, starting in the summer of 2012, major U.S. internet service providers such as Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast will begin warning you to stop if you are downloading pirated material.  This process, sponsored by the RIAA and MPAA, is a minimum 5-step copyright alert system. Unlike, SOPA & PIPA which are directed at producers and distributors, this is directed at consumers.   It is also different from the “three strikes” rule set in other countries such as the UK & France, which by law forces ISPs to shut off service to a consumer after a few warnings.  It is a voluntary initiative that helps to formalize and create consistency across ISPs in how they will alert consumers about downloading illegally copied material.  Whether or not you are knowingly doing it, all consumers will be warned a few times before final legal action is taken.   Given the current landscape and the forces at play, it’s more important now than ever to educate kids about how they get the music and movies they love.  Here’s how you can guide them: Keep reading how you can guide your children about online piracy. 


About Trend Micro
To support our vision of making the world safe for exchanging digital information, Trend Micro aspires to make a difference by using our 20+ years of expertise in developing world-class security software for homes and businesses to make the world at large a better place. One of the ways we do this is through a commitment to make the Internet a safer place for young people around the world.   TRMI20340