In the late 90s and early 2000s, almost everyone knew about piracy. Piracy, which is a white-collar crime, is when intellectual property is stolen. In many cases, that property is available digitally. For example, if you downloaded a movie without paying for it (and without permission), then you may be accused of pirating that movie. Similarly, downloading a bootleg version of a piece of software would also be considered pirating that software.

Many people don’t believe that piracy is a serious offense because so many people do it. Digital technologies led to a major rise in piracy, which had a negative effect on the music industry, computer industry and others.

Getting caught pirating software or music, movies or other forms of entertainment online is serious, and it can lead to prosecution. There are many cases of individuals facing major companies that allege that the people who pirated content from them cost them thousands, if not millions, of dollars. This was particularly true on torrenting sites, where users downloaded content and then helped upload and share that content with others.

Are you likely to be caught for pirating digital assets?

It’s possible that you could be caught, and if you are, you could be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Pirating anything, whether it’s music or software, a video game or movie, violates the rights of the original creator. You’re not paying for the item, so it’s stealing.

If you knowingly pirate software or other digital items and get caught, it’s important to defend yourself. Though it’s rare to see someone accused of, and prosecuted for, piracy, those who are face thousands in fines and could even end up in jail.