Students resort to pirating movies online


Zachary Reyna

A student browses a website with pirated streamable movies on a Chromebook.

Zachary Reyna, Staff Writer

When most people think of piracy, the first image that pops into their heads is that of a rough-looking sailor from the 1700s.

However, piracy in modern life takes on the form of an everyday act streaming or downloading movies, music and other digital content. The convenience of Netflix, Spotify, and other online content providers have created an expectation that all entertainment should be available online at any time at a reasonable price. And, of course, everyone’s favorite price is free.

For students without a lot of money, piracy is often the result of the desire to have access to content without the hassle of paying for multiple streaming services or perhaps of the desire to not pay at all.

Watching pirated movies is a big trend right now as students have found ways of accessing streaming websites on district-provided Chromebooks. While the district does try to restrict access to these websites they’re unable to block all of these websites that exist. Students use this as a way to beat boredom in class.

Under current law, downloading copyright-infringing digital material is a federal felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while streaming the same movie, TV show, or music file is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, according to an article by the American Consumer Institute.

Students at Akins said they knew that piracy was illegal, but they were not aware of what the exact punishment is for watching pirated movies.

“Not exactly sure the exact trouble I can get in I just know I can get in trouble,” said a student who asked to remain anonymous.

Another student said they used websites with pirated content because they couldn’t access certain movies on the streaming services they did pay for.

“There are movies that like are just classics, but they go off Netflix, YouTube, or Hulu,” he said. “Sometimes they’re not on there and you just want to find them but when you find them you have to pay for them, and they’re $7 or $6.”

Another student said they watched pirated movies because they didn’t have any money to pay for a legal streaming service.

“Because I’m broke, I don’t know how else to say it,” he said. “I don’t know why it’s so illegal honestly. But like for those people can’t afford it should be given an alternative option, which they don’t so they resort to not-so-legal methods.”

Common responses from students at Akins about why they pirate movies was that the movies are unavailable to the user in any legal method they try to take. This could be because the movie isn’t on the platform they have or they don’t want to pay to go to a theater.

The number of streaming services that are coming out has affected the amount of pirating. Along with the amount of money people are paying for these services. It has caused some people to just use these pirating websites as a way to watch the shows that are exclusive to certain streaming services for free.