Is Piracy a Felony? Not Necessarily
Published April 20th, 2021
People download content illegally all the time. In fact, you may have done it once in your life without you knowing. You may have streamed a pirated movie online once or downloaded a song without paying for it. Many people do not understand the whole concept of piracy and downloading things illegally online. While piracy is technically illegal and should not be done, it does not necessarily count as a felony. With that, let’s answer the question that several people are curious about, is piracy a felony?
What Is Felony?
To better understand the situation, you will have to understand first what a felony is. In simple terms, a felony is the most severe act of crime. People who commit felonies usually get jail time of at least a year. Worst-case scenarios, felonies can be punishable by death. Felonies generally involve acts of violence such as murder, manslaughter, and other dangerous acts that threaten society.
What Is Piracy?
People understand piracy differently, so to clear things up, let’s discuss what piracy is. To simply put it, piracy is when you download or upload content online such as movies, songs, and software without the approval of the owner/producer. Say you took a video of a movie or film directed and produced by a friend of yours. If you were to upload that recording online without telling the director, you are committing the act of piracy. Other terms for piracy are copyright infringement and cam ripping.
Is Piracy Indeed A Felony?
While piracy is an unlawful act that goes against specific rules and regulations, it is not necessarily considered a felony. Court offices and federal authorities consider piracy to be more of a misdemeanor rather than a felony. Punishment for piracy acts varies depending on the state you are in. Jail time is only a punishment for piracy acts where the person committing the act attempts to sell the pirated content through torrents and other platforms. Illegal downloading laws state that these acts can result in up to five years of prison time.
Federal authorities may also charge you a fine of $200 up to $150,000 for each pirated content you share. Rightful owners and producers of the content can also file a lawsuit against the offenders and fine them with legal expenses and fees stated in the case. The severity of piracy acts depends on the damages that were done to the original content and owners. Whether you streamed and downloaded content for personal use or used it to sell to others, downloading pirated content is still illegal. Although it is not as severe for others as when a murder takes place, it is still unlawful nonetheless.
So to finalize, is piracy a felony? The act of piracy may not seem like such a big deal for some people, but it is. You should remember that a crime is a crime, no matter how minor or simple the act may be. Every day, people commit piracy unknowingly, but that doesn’t make the crime any less unlawful. It may lift the weight of the punishment from jail time to paying a fine, but it does not change the fact that it is illegal. You must be aware of how serious piracy is and what can happen to you if caught in the act. Having all the information and knowing what the law considers right and wrong can help you avoid future mishaps.
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About The Author
As a professional writer at many renowned websites Krizzia Paolyn has covered a wide range of topics in many industries. Her knack for uncovering important truths and conducting thorough research on each topic she writes about has helped thousands of people across the world.