Filesharing “a gateway into the dark side” says UK police chief

Unauthorised filesharing can be a “gateway” to online crime, according to Andy Archibald, deputy director of the National Cyber Crime Unit at the National Crime Agency. Speaking at the Infosecurity Europe conference in London, Archibald said: “If you think about the illegal downloading of music, of videos and DVDs, I think that practice is more common than we might imagine within the youth of today,” the Press Association reports. “That’s criminality. It’s almost become acceptable. That’s the first stages, I believe, of a gateway into the dark side.”

Although Archibald is quite right that unauthorised downloads are commonplace among young people, as a police officer he must surely know that this is not “criminality”: it is an infringement of an intellectual monopoly. According to the UK government’s Web page on copyright infringement, only “deliberate infringement of copyright on a commercial scale may be a criminal offence,” but in general it is a civil matter.

A widespread recognition of the dishonesty of trying to to re-frame unauthorised downloads as “theft” has led to a general disregard for the law, particularly among young people, and is one reason why illegal downloads have become “acceptable,” as Archibald says. The common view that such filesharing is not harmful to creators is backed up by a growing body of research, which finds that the unauthorised downloads generally boost legal sales.

Read the Full Article: Source – Ars Technica

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