Piracy of products and intellectual property is a rapidly growing problem in today’s global market. The Washington Post reports that 22 percent of surveyed adults admit to purchasing an unauthorized or counterfeit product in the past year. Counterfeit versions of everything from designer purses and brand name sneaker to DVDs and software are bought and sold illegally. The Washington Post quoted a recent study done by the Institute for Policy Innovation, that estimates the monetary loss America faces due to this epidemic. The study suggests that piracy costs the U.S. economy $58 billion per year, and 350,000 jobs.
Illegal music downloading and piracy has been at the forefront of this problem. More than 26,000 people have been sued by the Recording Industry Association of America for illegally sharing files. Most of those people paid thousands of dollars in fines, but settled out of court. A brave few fought back, and took their cases to trial. Recently, an alarming verdict was given in the first of these cases to be decided. Jammie Thomas was ordered to pay 220,000 for sharing music over the Internet. In the end, Thomas will pay 9,200 for each song named in the suit
Piracy is not unique to the U.S. A report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry states that globally, 37 percent of all CDs purchased were pirated in 2005, and there were over 20 billion songs illegally downloaded. Despite efforts by the industry to discourage the practice, statistics show piracy seems to be getting worse.