The internet has certainly made the idea of intellectual property a much more difficult one to control. Prior to the internet, piracy was done on a much smaller scale. Someone would make a mixtape for another person. Someone would burn a CD for another person. Sure, there were people that sold pirated materials, but it was mostly done simply to share. That idea has developed with the internet, and the exploded into a major facet of the entertainment industry. According to them, they lose billions of dollars of revenue (their projected loss of revenue is a very unreasonable number. http://boingboing.net/2012/03/15/copyright-math-the-best-ted-t.html). A lot of new issues come to the idea of copyright law with the internet.
Beyond it just being much more difficult to control, what exactly is copyright infringement? Clearly selling copies of someone else’s copyrighted material is unlawful. But what about simply sampling portions of other peoples’ work to make a much different work of art. This idea is discussed in the documentary, Good Copy, Bad Copy, while talking about the work of Girl Talk. He is an electronic musician who simply samples other people’s work and makes a track using electronically generated beats. He believes what he does is within the law, as he talks such minimal bits from other people. A comparison is made between the internet and public libraries. Information should be free flowing, and if it is the knowledge of everyone is enhanced. Books are copyrighted material, but libraries are not unlawful. They ask what the difference is, and I don’t see any huge differences other than capitalism being more prevalent in the entertainment industry.