General Writing and Grammar Help/copyright


1.In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in the piracy of music, movies and books. No matter what form it takes, piracy is like stealing others’ works.

(1.)In the first sentence, may I say also “there has been a sharp increase in the illegal copies of music….”?

(2.) In the first sentence, may I say also, “The piracy rate of music, movies and books in Taiwan has risen in recent years”? Should I use the plural “rates” (The piracy rates….have risen…)?

(3.) In the second sentence, may I leave out “like”?

(4.) In the second sentence, may I say also, “…piracy is considered the theft of others’ works/ideas”?

(5.) In the second, may I say also, “ “No matter what form of piracy, it should be considered stealing others’ works.”?

In addition to enacting laws against piracy, we, as citizens, should refuse to buy pirated goods and respect Intellectual Property Rights. This way, original works can be protected and artists can receive the respect and rewards they deserve.

(6.) In the first sentence, may I say also “in addition to enacting laws to crack down on piracy”?

(7.)In the first sentence, does it mean the same if I say  “we ,as citizens, should boycott pirated goods….” or “we ,as citizens, should never buy pirated goods…”?

(8.) What is another way to say “in addition to enacting laws against piracy”?  “Aside from enacting….” or “other than enacting….”?

(9.) In the second sentence, may I say also, “This way, original works can be protected and can also receive the respect and rewards they deserve” or “This way, we can protect original works and give their creators the respect and rewards they deserve”?

Thank you!

I do not know what Taiwanese copyright law says.  I am basing my responses on U.S. copyright law.


(1) Use =illegal copies of=.


(1)  I would use =rates= to show that each of them has risen, but =rate= would be understood in American English.


(3) You MUST leave out =like=.

According to U.S. copyright law, pirating/illegal copying IS stealing!  Therefore, your sentence is not factually correct for U.S. usage.

If you leave out =like=, your sentence is correct.  If you use =like=, you are saying things are "similar," which they are not.  =Illegal copying/pirating= and =stealing= are identical.

I have done quite a bit of research on American copyright law, AND my material has been stolen from my website many, many times, appearing elsewhere without attribution or even with someone else's name as author!  

=Property= is better because it is a definite thing to which the author can point.  It is "less real" to speak of "ideas" or "works."  

A less-good way to say works that someone else has done is to use =intellectual property= (lower case).  

If you wish to emphasize something that belongs to someone else, use =property= by itself.  It has more impact.


(4)  No, because it is not "sort of like."  It IS stealing.

No matter what the form, it IS stealing another's property.


(5)  No.  See above.  


(6)  =Crack down= is far better.  It has greater impact.


(7)  Yes to both.  Or, to drive home the effect it has on the property's owner, you should use =stolen=.


(8) I can't think of anything else.  All your suggestions are good.


(9) "Copyright" is the right to make copies.  That right belongs to the owner of the copyright.  

Without getting too far afield (!), it is legal in the U.S. (but stupid!) to "give rights to the public domain."  This means anyone (the public) can use it as is, can use it in any changed form, and can give it away or even sell it!  All without saying who originated the item, and all without paying this person at all!

Sometimes copyright is owned by a commercial music company (Warner/Chappell Music, the company that publishes my works).  For example, "Happy Birthday to You" is a copyrighted work and may not be used without written permission or (more commonly, especially for a commercial company) without paying to use it.  Copyright is set to expire in 2030.  Who knows what will happen then?  Disney has copyright protection for Mickey Mouse, and the U.S. Congress continues to write copyright law that "just happens" to extend protection for Mickey!

Well, now I'm off topic!


To comment on your question, we are not talking about "respect" for the original works themselves.  We are talking about respect for the owner.  =Rewards= implies money compensation.

I would say something like this.
This way, the works of authors and artists [composers, music arrangers/etc., painters/sculptors/photographers, choreographers/etc. are included as "artists"] can be protected.  The right to make copies of their works and to sell their works are theirs alone.  To do otherwise is to steal.

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Martha Beth Lewis


I will answer questions having to do with grammar, plurals, punctuation, capitalization, mood, person, tense, and so on, as well as word usage and word choice. If you want a quick answer to a specific question, particularly if you wish to use formal American English for business or academic purposes (MLA), I can give you a timely response. I also can address word choice, clarity, structure, and similar concerns involving English as a second language. If you want advice of a deeper editorial nature (e.g., substantive [line] editing), please consult an Expert who offers this sort of assistance; I do not offer this sort of assistance.


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