The Case for Online Content Piracy by@prajjwalporwal

The Case for Online Content Piracy

Piracy is more deeply rooted than we think; it comes down to ethics and morality! Piracy has its own risks, which we often fail to understand. People are not much concerned with risks that they cannot'resonate' with the ones which they don't fear, i.e. But they foresee the (financial and mental) implications of cyber-crimes, thefts, malware and viruses. End-users need to fear when they consume pirated content—be it downloading MOD Apks to bypass play store IAPs, downloading songs/movies/web-series for free.
Prajjwal P. HackerNoon profile picture

Prajjwal P.

I run a blog where I identify & review niche apps! Interested in mobile tech too.

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Before I start, I would like to thank Deepak Upadhyay for starting off a little discussion and giving me the idea to even write on this topic! Want to know, how did it strike me to write this article? here you go!

Coming to the topic— We all know about the fact that pirated content is available everywhere on the internet. Talk about movies, web-series, games, apps (Hacks we call it!), If some content is very popular or goes viral on the web, it is perfectly normal these days to find free alternatives to access that very content by performing just a simple google search!

Obviously, we have seen many ad campaigns and appeals over the web to stop piracy of any content! But, I personally don't think it is working. People who want to watch/download something will end up watching or downloading, it anyway; By hook or by crook; by over-paying for it OR by not paying at all!

Let us discuss the implications of piracy and why you shouldn't indulge in it

But before we get into it, let us first understand the thought processes of both the parties on the opposite sides!

The Thought Process of Users

I particularly see 3 motivations:

  1. The Cost of the primary content (which is obviously not free or is unaffordable!)
  2. The belief (and the fact) that "the content will surely be available for free somewhere online!"
  3. and Of course, the intensity of the craving one person has to watch that content!

The Thought Process of the Pirates

Why would anyone Pirate content in the first place? Surely, he/she is not some Robinhood in disguise; who is stealing from the rich and giving out to the fellow public! (but, let's not eliminate this possibility in this discussion!)

Let us put down the motives next

  1. To collect user data and sell it off to companies or maybe on the dark web
  2. Infecting malware into the end-user device to plan a ransomware attack!
  3. Earning money through ads by placing them at easily clickable places inside the app/software which provides pirated content (This works for them, given the huge count of users that come across such shady apps!)
  4. Lastly, he/she is a rebel probably, who is furious with the cinematic industry and wants to make every content free to use! (Think of the Joker here played by Joaquin Phoenix! Joker is indeed a rebel!)

Let's start off with the implications now!

Pirates obviously need to fear!


These pirates who leak or host pirated content OR modify any paid mobile app to make it freely available are the first suspects; for whom the content publishers are on the lookout for!

While I technically agree that tracing them can be next to impossible and given that they register innumerable domains; their activity can be obviously slowed down or reduced by the national governments. Using methods like blocking these domains country-wide or enforcing restrictions on download speeds of content in such websites can surely demotivate users from visiting these websites, thereby hurting these pirates' overall mileage!

Do End-users need to fear?


(Also, This is what I feel is the main branch of piracy that should be addressed)

Well, I personally feel so! They indeed need to fear when they consume pirated content—be it downloading MOD Apks to bypass play store IAPs, downloading songs/movies/web-series for free or downloading cracked versions of products like Photoshop, Nitro PDF, MS Office Suite, etc.
Consuming content either by downloading or online streaming has its own risks, which we users often fail to understand (OR rather deliberately turn our ears away from!).

There is this nice analysis conducted by @TorrentFreak about a survey conducted by 'THE FACT' to check behavioral awareness of Piracy risks among people in the UK (findings of which were shared here on HackerNoon too!).

Though the article criticizes the flawed conclusions arrived at in that survey, it also throws light on the human behavior to piracy risks.

"People are not much concerned with risks that they cannot 'resonate' with, i.e. the ones which they don't fear"

Reason? People cannot (subconsciously) quantify the impact of identifying thefts, cyber-crimes, malware and viruses. But they, do foresee the (financial and mental) implications of legal trouble, visiting police stations for inquiries, potential connections with mafia or organized crimes!

"The case for Piracy is more deeply rooted than we think; it all comes down to ethics and morality!"


Pirates use a simple marketing strategy that always works— 'Freebies', everything for free! [On a lighter note, It's like Google offering its services for free to everyone (in return for infinite data! 🙂)]. Users get their content, pirates (aka hackers) get what they want— by luring users they can gain your device info, the data within, maybe your system logs too and hence your user activity, ultimately either leading YOU to their golden date of ransom or opening their own gates on the dark web to sell-off that huge data for millions of dollars there! (OR if the pirate is a rebel— leaking content and its free distribution will be the only goal!)

We always read this quote to "learn from others experiences" but ask yourself, do we actually learn from them? We still (love) learning from only our experiences, making us more 'damage controllers' rather than 'security guards'!

You may think you saved some money, but think about that artist, or think about that developer or movie director who spent months and years developing that painting or app or the movie! You are depriving him/her of his earnest/deserving money. Now, think about it... what if this artist/developer/movie director were either you or someone from your family or anyone close to you? Wouldn't you fight for yourself/him/her rights? Wouldn't you raise your voice and fight for justice then?

Now, this is the mindset we need to imbibe in us! Impose all the restrictions possible in the world today, believe it or not piracy is here to stay for long! Also, it is a well-known fact that imposing restrictions will always remain a short term solution; getting the ethics and morals right will be truly long term!

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