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Routine Piracy: Digital Piracy & Routine Activity Theory

Routine Piracy: Digital Piracy & Routine Activity Theory

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An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Alex Towers. Originally submitted for Criminology at Trinity College, Dublin, with lecturer Ivana Bacik in the category of Law
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Alex Towers. Originally submitted for Criminology at Trinity College, Dublin, with lecturer Ivana Bacik in the category of Law

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 29, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/27/2013

 
Routine Piracy: Digital Piracy andRoutine Activity TheoryAlex Towers
20
 
Table of Contents Page[1.0] Introduction3[2.0] Addressing Digital Piracy3-[2.1] Origins of Digital Piracy3-[2.2] Development of Digital Piracy4-[2.3] Effects of Digital Piracy: The Current Situation6-[2.4] Digital Piracy as a Crime7[3.0] Criminology Control Theories8-[3.1] Situational Control Theories8-[3.2] Rational Choice Theory9-[3.3] Routine Activity Theory9-[3.4] Criticism of Routine Activity Theory11[4.0] Routine Control Theory & Digital Piracy12-[4.1] Exordium to Applying the Theory12-[4.2] First Theory Component: The Motivated Offender 12-[4.3] Second Theory Component: The Suitable Target16-[4.4] Third Theory Component: Lack of Capable Guardian17[5.0] Conclusion20[6.0] Bibliography21-[6.1] Books21-[6.2] Articles and Essays21-[6.3] Caselaw and Legislation22[1.0] Introduction
In the early 21
st
century a new type of crime began to emerge, the prevalentinfringement of copyright on the World Wide Web. While the practice of classifyingthe infringement of exclusive rights in creative works as "piracy" predates statutorycopyright law,
1
since the widespread availability of the Internet the term has beenapplied to the illegal sharing of copyright across peer-to-peer networks and other intermediaries.
2
 This sharing of copyright encompasses a multitude of material, suchas films, books, television shows, computer software and music. However despite itsrapid emergence, assigning blame for copyright infringement in works circulated
1
Thomas Dekker,
The Wonderfull Yeare,
Transcribed from London John Lane the Bodley Head, 1924,The source ext is that in the British Museum, E, 1940. Originally 1603, Dekker referenced receiving aRoyal charter that gave the company a monopoly on publication, with those who violated the charted being labeled as ‘pirates’
2
Lilian Edwards and Charlotte Waelde
Online Intermediaries and Liability for Copyright  Infringement,
AHRC Research Centre for Studies into Intellectual Property and Technology Law,School of Law, University of Edinburgh, Keynote Paper at World Intellectual Property OrganisationWorkshop on Online Intermediaries and Liability for Copyright, Geneva 2005, at 2-5
20
 
online without authorization has been a problematical matter and one that has no easyanswer.
3
 However the purpose of this essay is not to examine how to address liability, butinstead to study the motivations behind this criminal development in light of Lawrence E. Cohen and Marcus Felson’s Routine Activity Theory. Through such anexamination it is proposed that a measure of understanding could be gleaned about theescalating phenomena of digital piracy.
[2.0] Addressing Digital Piracy
 
-
[2.1] Origins of Digital Piracy
The liability of online intermediaries was one of the first Internet related legalquestions to make headlines and agitate the fledgling Internet industry.
4
It was notlong before the issue received the attention of legislators, such as in the 1991 libelhosting case of 
Cubby v CompuServe
(1991).
5
However this case was only the beginning and soon liability issues began to arise concerning a multitude of differenttypes of content. These issues then in turn raised further diverse issues that alternateddepending on the type of content in question. However the decisions of courts andsubsequent legislation across the world (such as Defamation Act in the UnitedKingdom
6
, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in the United States
7
 and theEuropean Electronic Commerce Directive
8
) led to different classifications of issuesand policy. These different arrangements of authorship and types of material were notsystematically defined in the early jurisprudence, leading to widely differingregulations being imposed in legal systems. Additional complications even arose
3
John Kennedy, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry,
 Digital Music Report 
(IFPI,2010), at 3
4
Edwards and Waelde, note 2, at 10
5
766 F Supp 135, United States District Court, Southern District New York (1991)
6
United Kingdom Defamation Act 1996
7
Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 112 stat 2860, 1998
8
EU Electronic Commerce Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the EuropeanCouncil of the 8
th
of June 2000
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