In praise of piracy?

piratesIt is pretty ironic that the crackdown on illegal file sharing targets people that the entertainments industry calls ‘pirates’, when in the public consciousness pirates are part of the nation’s heritage and freedom.

Thanks in part to Johnny Depp, pirates are also a big part of the world that children grow up in.

The debate around file sharing is still contentious, with industry pressing internet service providers to make illegal file sharers ‘walk the plank’ by having their internet access cut off, while public interest campaigners argue that the rules are designed by rampant vested interests and would make law-breakers of us all.

For a reasoned account of this, stripped of references to skull or crossbones, here is a talk at the Intellectual Property Crime Group by my colleague Jill Johnstone.

(Image from flickr user John-Morgan using a Creative Commons license)

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One thought on “In praise of piracy?

  1. Actually the term “pirate” doesn’t come from the entertainment industry.

    Piracy is a term that has been used for hundreds of years (as far back as the 18th century) by copyright holders to describe those who infringe copyright, and was enthusiastically adopted by the software piracy groups during the 1980s. I and I am sure many others remember seeing material put out by software pirates that was festooned in Jolly Roger flags and other symbols of piracy on the high seas.

    Further more, pirates are most certainly not part of our nation’s heritage. The British were one of the major naval forces that attempted to clamp down on piracy on the high seas, and indeed until recently I believe it was still a capital crime in our country.

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