Little Jimmy

Here is a story I tell people to try to get the point across about public perception of online illegal downloading and the belief it is a victimless crime which the powers that be are completely overreacting to.
Little Jimmy strolls into HMV during his lunch break and sneaks a few CD’s into his school bag. He then rambles over to the film section and puts in a few DVD’s too. He walks out casually and just when he thinks he’s got away with it a big hand lands on his shoulder and he is taken back to the security room and the Guards are called. Mum and Dad are called at work by the local Garda station to come and pick up Jimmy and told that charges will be brought up and a court appearance is likely. As you would expect the public humiliation of a thief in the family is enormous, the neighbours are gossiping and little Jimmy is in deep trouble.
Alternatively, little Jimmy is up in his room downloading dozens of films from very dodgy internet sites which advertise porn and snuff movies alongside new cinema hits. He burns films onto discs and sells them to his friends at school and over a year or so sells hundreds of them, costing the legitimate business thousands of Euros. Mum and dad receive a letter from their service provider informing them that there are illegal downloads going on in their house and that if they don’t desist they might lose their internet connection. They contact a local paper and suddenly there is a media frenzy about big brother monitoring peoples internet activity and how wrong it is for big business to restrict a little boy from using the internet.
Looking at the two stories above it seems so straightforward. Unfortunately it’s actually really difficult to get this message across and it is a battle that will probably go on for some time yet. I hope little Jimmy isn’t hoping to get a job in the Irish film and entertainment business when he grows up !