Accessing Pirated Content Is Not Worth the Risk
A report published by Digital Citizens Alliance has found that websites dedicated to distributing illicit movies, television shows and other pirated content are also more likely to infect their “consumers” with malware. The cybersecurity firm RiskIQ found that one of every three illicit cites contains malware, and that visitors to these sites are 28 times more likely to get malware from a rogue site than from a legitimate one. More disturbing yet, is that much of the malware is delivered “invisibly”—the user does not even need to click on a link in order to download the malware. Once downloaded, hackers can steal bank and credit card information, discover personal information facilitating identity theft and lock a consumer’s computer until a “ransom” is paid to return access. The problem has become so pervasive that numerous state attorneys general have taken to the airwaves with public service announcements to highlight the threat and enlist the public’s aid to defend against it. One such PSA from the Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich can be accessed here, and the report, Digital Bait: How Content Theft Sites and Malware Are Exploited by Cybercriminals to Hack into Internet Users’ Computers and Personal Data can be accessed here.
Intellectual property rights (IPR) were so important to America’s Founders, that they included them in the U.S. Constitution in Article I, Section 8:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
The constitutional framers understood how important intellectual property would be to the growth of the new nation’s economy, almost as if they foresaw the direct correlation between the strength of a country’s IPR regime and economic growth. In the United States, 27.9 million direct jobs and 17 million indirect jobs owe their existence to IP-intensive industries. And now we know that IP theft not only undermines the national economy but can cause harm to individual consumers as well. Downloading pirated content is and always has been wrong, and the Digital Citizens Alliance report underscores that it is definitely not worth the risk.