It’s reasonable to assume that the mindset of the current class of law students can provide certain clues as to the beliefs of the next generation of lawyers (notwithstanding the fact that half of them will probably never actually become lawyers, but that’s a different topic). If that’s true, then today’s copyright owners have got a problem, because aspiring lawyers are apparently totally fine with digital piracy, judging by their extremely relaxed attitudes towards the digital theft of intellectual property. Wayne Lonstein, CEO of VFT Solutions, raises the alarm in Forbes, pointing to the results of a survey of law students at Harvard University conducted in 2015-2016.
- According to the study authors, they surveyed “elite upcoming lawyers from all around the world to shed new light on the ethical acceptability of file sharing practices. Although file sharing is typically illegal, our findings show that lawyers overwhelmingly perceive it as an acceptable social practice.”
- Lonstein sums up the long-term threat: “If the common belief in law schools like Harvard is that file sharing or illegal streaming are acceptable practices in society, then how will the next generation of lawyers, legislators and jurists possibly find a level playing field when asserting their intellectual property rights?”
- Lonstein urges rights owners who have so far taken a casual attitude towards piracy – for example, treating it as the price of being present on social media – to start pushing back and asserting their rights more forcefully, before digital theft becomes normalized.