Is It Worth The Risk?

In our recent discussion about security and hacking, I thought that it would be relevant to examine the website The Pirate Bay, which allows its users to upload or download different types of media files. This website is always running into legal trouble from organizations looking to for allowing the illegal downloading of a multitude of files. However, the company continues to avoid major legal charges because the company is constantly switching domain names with the hope that they avoid these troubles. Nonetheless, The Pirate Bay still runs into their fair share of problems, for example, back in 2009 each of the four co-founders were each sentenced to a year in prison, along with a combined fine of 3.6 million dollars. And most recently, one of the co-founders has been charged with fraud after he tried to hack into a Swedish Back and make unauthorized transactions that will most likely put him back in jail.

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            Although the founders of The Pirate Bay have been under a lot of jeopardy for running this fraudulent website, the companies who own this stolen and illegally downloaded property also is at risk. This risk isn’t for doing anything against the law, but for the potential to lose a sizeable amount of profits from their products. The amount of piracy that takes place is growing and even reached an all time high at the beginning of the month when more than one million viewers downloaded the season premiere of Game of Thrones in less than a day. This incredible amount of viewers lost for the show and for HBO represents a considerable amount of money lost in either their advertisement prices and in the amount of people who buy the show legally.

One company is taking a stand against this dilemma by uploading their own game to The Pirate Bay with an ironic twist. Although they are selling a regular copy of the game where players “simulate running [their own] video-game development company”, the pirated copy has its users ultimately go bankrupt due to the same problem of piracy. This forces players to buy the real version of the game where they aren’t doomed to fail.

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            Finally, now relating back to our discussions in class, I believe that those who seem to be the most at risk from The Pirate Bay are people like us who download the media files. Companies like Pirate Bay and other downloading websites don’t search through all of their files to sort out and eliminate the ones containing viruses or other fraudulent data. This presents a type of social engineering, where the hackers look for the weakest link, which is the users who are just looking for any link to download. Eventually, if one does download a fake link, then the virus could attack his or her computer, allowing the hack to have access to all of the computers files and data. Thus it is up to the individual to decide whether it is worth the risk to download any media files with the potential that it can be corrupted.

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8 thoughts on “Is It Worth The Risk?

  1. It is no surprise that by going to a site like Pirate Bay and downloading illegal files you are putting yourself at risk to hackers, this is why I chose not to use these sites. What I do not understand is why the founders of pirate bay think that just by changing the domain name they will be able to escape the law. If they have already been convicted and sentenced to jail for a year why would they think that by changing their domain name they will be able to stay on the streets. The website must have pretty efficient revenue model that is bringing in some cash because otherwise I am forced to think that the people who founded this website are the dumbest people in the world. It is extremely unfortunate that because people can upload and download tv series and movies on the internet then the premium cable channels and tv studios take a huge hit. This just seems to be another way that the internet can be seen as a double edged sword. This was a interesting blog post that related well to what we discussed in class, good job.

  2. I really liked how you laid out the consequences of downloading illegal files from Pirate Bay in this blog. Personally, I have not used this website before because the thought of downloading illegal files from a website I am not familiar with does not sound smart. The people who upload content to this website clearly are not model citizens, and I find it puzzling the the website’s users are surprised when the files they download contain viruses. The negative consequences you provide make me conclude that downloading content from Pirate Bay is definitely not worth it. Why jeopardize your files and hardware to watch a show for free; pay for the show or watch something else! I think that the governments should come down harder on the people behind this website to show that although online pirating is hard to combat, those caught will pay harsh consequences. Great post, Patrick!

  3. Great post! Very informative and interesting. I have never used Pirate Bay because I am nervous to download anything I am not sure about on the internet. I would rather pay $2 than risk my $2,000 computer. To me, it is definitely not worth the risk. People who download these files and videos are very easy targets. Someone could easily post something with a virus and even if the site was able to take it down in a short period of time, it could attack a decent amount of people before then. I’m not too familiar with Pirate Bay, but a lot of these streaming/downloading sites get away with a majority of the things they do because they are not the ones uploading the content. You can find almost any tv show or movie online for free nowadays, that it could definitely hinder the industry dramatically in the future.

  4. Along with what Courtney mentioned in the comment above about the TV industry being hindered in the future, I agree that the internet will have this almost destructive power. It is crazy to see the internet grow to become this monster that swallows everything up in its path—if the internet can do everything for free and quickly, what is the need for services like iTunes, Netflix, or other services that customers have to pay for. If sites like The Pirate Bay, who learn to avoid consequences by strategies such as changing their domain name, become more prevalent, sooner or later every show/movie/game/song/etc. that we could ever want will be freely accessible, and will be an extremely massive force to stop. I really liked your post because I have admittedly downloaded music from sites that seem sketchy (it might’ve even been from Pirate Bay) just because I didn’t feel like paying the $1.29 on iTunes. But this article enlightened me to the repercussions of doing that. Good job!!

  5. This reminds of Kim Dotcom. He made a fortune on pirating videos on his site called megaupload.com. At the time he was arrested he lived in a luxurious mansion with all kinds of toys. Last January, the FBI raided his house with helicopter, probably a little extreme for a hacker, and men armed with assault rifles. It’s a short term gain for long term prison sentence

  6. Like we talked about in class, websites like then find ways to get around the law, specifically going over seas to countries that do not have the same privacy laws that we do in the United States. Like many people above, it seems as though the $1 or $2 that you would pay for the song or video does not seem worth the risk of computer viruses and/or jail time/fines. Yet in reality, out of the several million users of this website, 99% of them will not be caught. So most people look at this and like many other things, go in with the idea that “It can’t happen to me.” Who knows if they will ever be able to fix this problem. Good job Rick.

  7. Ever since the days of Limewire, I’ve made the decision to simply spend the money for any songs/shows/movies I decide to download rather than take the risk of downloading it illegally. My decision is based less on the fact that it could corrupt my computer and more on the fact that it’s against the law and you sometimes hear the horror stories like the one where a woman was sued for $1.9 million for illegally downloading music. Putting all the risks and illegality aside, another major reason why I prefer to spend the money rather than download illegally is because I like to support my favorite bands, shows, and movies. I feel that it’s the least I could do seeing as how these industries (the music industry, especially) are suffering from sites like the Pirate Bay.

  8. Interesting post! This is a great example of how the internet can be considered a double edged sword. The internet and social media provide an unparalleled breadth of information that helps service individuals alike. All of this information and data that we collect from our interactions with others vis a vis the web is free! However that now creates a new standard for what should be free and what shouldn’t, and Pirate Bay capitalizes on this. This was a great post, and will definitely make me think twice before illegally downloading content again!

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