Download the pdf on this page. You will be looking at a number of scenarios which address the possible outcomes of downloading digital content. Read through these different scenarios and think about the characters involved in each. How might the different characters react and why.

  • Thinking about these scenarios, what can you identify as some of the key problems with illegally downloading or streaming digital products?
  • How might you be able to overcome some of these problems?
  • If illegal downloads can cause a problem for individuals and their computers, do you think consumers have a duty to be responsible for their downloads? Should it be an issue of individual choice, or should an external body be involved? Explain your reasons.
  • Make up your own scenarios showing how illegal downloading of digital products can cause difficulties for those who create the products and for those who download them. As well as the scenarios above, think also about questions of security of information and personal privacy, as well as the accuracy or reliability on online content and products.

Downloading and streaming illegally

downloadingandstreamingillegallyHere are some problems caused by illegally downloading digital products created by artists, designers, musicians, filmmakers, computer programmers and writers.  Read through these points carefully and choose TWO points that you think are the most serious and use them as the basis for a presentation to your class in one of the following formats:

  • a magazine article
  • an outline for a social media campaign including hashtags, a logo and a key message
  • a board game or card game


…make you vulnerable. As soon as you access a website offering illegally sourced content such as a newly released movie, you may be providing criminals with direct access to your computer. Once inside, they can see all your private information such as bank details.

…make your computer vulnerable. These sites can expose your computer to a range of spyware, malware and viruses.

…make children vulnerable. Peer-to-peer sharing sites which allow users to share videos do not use controls to prevent under age users accessing unsuitable content.

…can cost you. In most countries, people who download digital products incur civil liability, which means they may be ordered by a court to pay compensation to the person whose digital product they took without payment. In some countries, illegal file-sharers can incur fines or penalties.

…hurt creators. Authors and artists often struggle to make a living in our society. Illegal downloading and streaming deprive them of income.

…damage the economy. Money which should have been paid to creators and the distributors of their work is diverted into the hands of criminals, strengthening criminal networks to the detriment of society.