The Film Piracy Problem

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The Film Piracy Problem

The Film Piracy Problem
Teacher Overview
Film piracy is the illegal copying and distribution of movies in print, videos, DVDs or electronic files. New developments in digital technology make server-based or peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing on the Internet convenient and relatively fast. A negative consequence of this new technology, however, is online theft of copyrighted material. This lesson introduces students to the problem of film piracy, focusing specifically on Internet file sharing, especially P2P. The lesson’s activities encompass much more than a focus on the effects of film piracy on profits for movie studios or royalties for actors. Activity A helps students define the issue and its implications.
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Extend discussion to explain that people in their local community who work in movie theaters and in retail video stores, and cable and satellite systems, are also to some extent dependent upon the success of movie studios. Note: Teachers who wish to introduce their students to the specific roles in the filmmaking process should refer to Chapter 2 of The Story of Movies in the Curriculum section of this website for lesson plans and student activities, downloadable in PDF format. Conclude the discussion by asking a final question: What happens when a movie makes no profits? Some students may say that movies are always profitable, which is not the case. Others may comment that the filmmakers earn less than they might have, which is indeed true. You may wish to share this statistic, provided by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA): Approximately 6 out of 10 movies do not earn the initial investment made to produce the film.

Explain & Explore
Define upload and download. Both terms refer to the transfer of information between computers. In general, an upload is when a person sends or makes available a file; download is when a person receives a file. Distribute Reading Activity: Stealing the Show. This article explains a controversial film industry problem— piracy, or movie theft. Discuss student answers. Recommended responses are below.
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