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An overview of movie piracy and internet fraud

Cybercrime has been in the news quite a bit lately. The hack of movie and entertainment giant Sony Pictures - apparently by agents of North Korea - has many people opining that this move could be one of two things: a terroristic act of computer crime or an attack on the United States by a foreign nation. Fortunately, for the moment, it does not appear that we will be on the brink of war with North Korea any time soon, but the incident did very much bring to the forefront of the national conscious the prevalence of internet fraud and cybercrime.

In fact, in this case one criminal act has led to many others. As many of our New Jersey readers know, the main issue that the alleged "hackers" in this incident apparently had with Sony Pictures was the pending release of the movie called "The Interview," a comedy in which two bumbling media personalities are recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency to assassinate Kim Jung-Un, the leader of North Korea, after they secure a chance to do an interview with the reclusive leader.

Sony Pictures canceled the theatrical release of the movie across the country. However, Sony went forward with plans to release the movie as a digital download. The movie has been record-breaking in generating revenue in this format - but movie piracy has become an issue.

Movie piracy, unlike credit card fraud or identity theft, hurts a company instead of an individual. The company loses out on potential income when a digital version of a movie is shared freely - instead of purchased through the usually means. As a result, movie piracy is viewed as a serious form of theft, and as technology progresses the overlap between movie piracy and cybercrime will only continue to grow.

Source:, "TV and Film Piracy: Threatening an Industry?," Karsten Strauss, March 6, 2013

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