Under U.S. copyright law, illegal downloading could be punishable by up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines
Internet Service Providers can detect connections to illegal sites and flag large file downloads
Illegally downloaded material can expose computers to viruses, malware, spyware, or other unwanted software, costing families hefty recovery fees
Many parents remember exchanging mix tapes or VHS copies of our favorite TV shows with our friends. But today's technology makes it much easier to get and give away copyrighted material illegally. And many kids are taking advantage of the access, downloading and sharing everything from games to movies to music to software. Unfortunately, while some kids are downloading innocently -- unaware of the ethical, legal, and security consequences of their actions -- other kids find the chance to get stuff for free just too tempting.
Piracy is the act of illegally downloading copyrighted games, music, movies, TV shows, and software that you haven't paid for. Downloads are surprisingly easy to find on the Internet, mostly on file-sharing sites that kids hear about from other kids.
Not paying people for their creative work isn't just an ethical issue, it's illegal. Under U.S. copyright law, offenders could be punishable by up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. In some cases, modern-day pirates have been turned into the authorities by their Internet Service Providers, which detect connections to illegal sites and flag large file downloads.
Beyond the ethical and legal issues is the hefty price tag that many families pay because of piracy. Illegally downloaded material can expose computers to viruses, malware, spyware, or other unwanted software, all of which can crash your computer and lead to costly computer damage, loss of irreplaceable files, or even identity theft.