The internet and online peer-to-peer sharing software has made piracy more popular than ever. Whether you’re being accused of illegally downloading a song or movie or using an unlicensed copy of Photoshop, a piracy charge is nothing to make light of. In fact, piracy is a federal crime. 

These felony charges can land you in prison for a year or longer, depending upon the circumstances of your individual case. Although at first glance, piracy might seem like a victimless crime, it’s still considered theft. When you’re downloading music without paying for it, it’s illegal. If you’re facing any type of piracy charges or related charges, you top priority needs to be speaking with a criminal defense attorney about your case.

Elements of a Piracy Charge

Piracy is essentially illegally stealing or sharing files that you haven’t paid for. In the parlance of our times, we think of piracy as involving music and video files online. When it comes to piracy charges and convictions, two separate elements have to be satisfied. First, the prosecutor must prove that piracy (the theft) was willful and intentional. Did you intend to illegally steal the music? Second, did you, yourself, personally download or share the files? If you have a computer that more than one person uses, it might be difficult to prove that you were actually the one that committed the piracy.

Piracy and Cyber Crimes

Piracy is one of the most common types of cyber crimes. Cyber crimes can include just about any crime or criminal activity that takes place online. This type of cyber crime deals with theft of certain types of intellectual property. Illegally downloading music is probably the most popular form of piracy and cyber crime. Illegal file sharing can also occur with games, movies, television shows and a variety of different types of software. Any time a file is shared or downloaded illegally online, that’s piracy and a cyber crime.

Illegally Downloading Music

In its heyday, illegal downloading and sharing of music was out of control. Initially, Napster was the preferred file sharing, peer-to-peer software of choice. A variety of other peer-to-peer file sharing websites and pieces of software followed. As soon as one was shut down, another one popped up. Limewire, and other programs filled the space that Napster left behind. If you or somebody you love has been accused of illegally downloading or sharing music, you need to speak with an skilled criminal defense attorney with cyber crimes case experience immediately.

Digitally Bootlegging Movies

Digitally bootlegging movies is also a huge crime associated with piracy. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) estimates a loss of nearly $3.5 billion each year due to digital piracy. This multi-billion dollar criminal enterprise can also land you in hot legal water. It might seem innocent enough, but illegally downloading or bootlegging a movie online can mean serious trouble if charged or convicted.

A Federal Crime

Piracy is a federal crime. This means that you can go to prison for more than a year, if convicted. It also means you could be facing hefty financial fines. If you’re facing any kind of felony charges related to piracy or other cyber crimes, you need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately about your case. It might feel like a seemingly victimless crime to you, but the federal government takes these charges and investigations very seriously.

Penalties Associated With Piracy

They might seem draconian in nature, but penalties associated with digital piracy of copyrighted works can get you hard time in a federal prison facility. In fact, if you’re convicted of video taping a move, you can get sentenced to three to six years in a federal correctional facility. Additionally, people who use peer-to-peer networks in violation of the No Electronic Theft (NET) Act of 1997 can also face harsh penalties if convicted. It’s possible to get a five to 10 year sentence if you’re found guilty of illegally trafficking recordings of lie events or performances for financial gain.

When to Contact a Piracy Lawyer

If you’re being investigated or charged with piracy or other cyber or digital crimes, you need to speak with a lawyer about your case immediately. Even though these crimes are non-violent and seemingly victimless, you could be facing incredibly harsh penalties, if convicted. If you or somebody you love is facing piracy charges or any other type of digital or cyber crime in Jackson or any of the surrounding Metro areas, contact the skilled and proven team at Coxwell & Associates, PLLC at (601) 265-7766 for an immediate case consultation today.


  • $144 Million Death and punitive damages
  • $120 Million Injuries from dangerous drugs
  • $20.4 Million Fraud settlement that went to Mississippians
  • $2.3 Million Brain injury settlement
  • $2.1 Million Civil rights death
  • $1.6 Million Fraud settlement for Mississippians

Contact Us today

To Schedule A Consultation

  • “You were made to do what you do. Know that You make a difference in lives for the better.” - Will A.
  • “We are so appreciative for everything you've done for us. We don't know how we would've gotten through this without your help and generosity!” - N.B.
  • “My family and I will always be indebted to you and your staff.” - B.W.
    • Please enter your first name.
    • Please enter your last name.
    • Please enter your phone number.
      This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.