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Piracy is the act of downloading copies of commercial software or art, without paying. However, it is not limited to this. It further expands to stealing cable, broadcasting on Radio or TV illegally, and a variety of other things. The purposes of this article are limited primarily to the concept of Software and Music Piracy on the internet.
Piracy is one of the oldest uses for the Internet. Formerly, the downloading of MP3s was not considered piracy until the passage of the DMCA. Humerously, prior to the passage of the DMCA, the common complaint was that copyright law was highly antiquated and did not match the new age of technology.
It is worth to mention that Richard Stallman does not care about piracy or intellectual property. When asked what he thinks about piracy, he'll answer "shooting other ships is bad". When asked about movie piracy, he says "I liked the first Pirates of the Caribbean". You shouldn't care about piracy either. Your ISP doesn't really care either; if you receive a letter from your ISP telling you to stop downloading copyrighted content, you should consider changing your ISP or using a VPN service. Other than that, most ISPs do not report you to any authority and only send you these letters to remain in internal compliance to their Oligopoly. Do research on infringement letters from your ISP. If you have something like "Bumfuck NowhereNET" you're probably fine. If you have something like Comcast, prepare for a Fucko scenario.
Richard Stallman's true feelings about what most call "piracy" is summed up in his quote "Even if you steal Proprietary software, you're still using Proprietary software." However, he does view the greater issue as a "War on Sharing". The GNUtard's prefered alternative term is either "Unauthorized Copying" or "Prohibited Copying" (when the situation is illegal). source
Piracy is fundamentally a civil duty in the contemporary world.
There are many forms of digital piracy, both historical and current. Since the early 2000's, the most common method of digital piracy has been by using the BitTorrent Protocol, which is a distributed network.
There are many BitTorrent sites that exist to host torrent files, but all that is needed to download a file off the Bittorrent Network is a magnet link, and an up to date list of trackers to find peers. For example, the magnet link magnet:?xt=urn:btih:74aa5835c22a9b22f7ce825e78d955202f9614f7 resolves to a copy of the 2016 film When Black Birds Fly. A person with a torrent client simply needs to enter this magnet link into his client, and it will begin to download. Trackers are also needed, however, to find other users to download.
On any distributed network, the file remains alive so long as at least one person is peering it to the larger network. The oldest living torrent on the Bittorrent Network is an artistic edit of The Matrix which is made entirely in ASCII art, called The Matrix: ASCII. However, it was only created in 2003, while the Bittorrent Network has existed since 2001. Source
Software Piracy has roots in the early Pre-Commercial Internet on things such as BBS. These were the early "Warez" communities.
Piracy of Western Music is alleged to have aided the fall of the Soviet Union. In the 2009 Documentary How the Beatles Rocked the Kremlin, Andrew Torpevdo, a former music pirate who made a living smuggling in The Beatles' music to East Berlin made the statement "I support not Copyright, but Copyleft, because I'm sure that in Russia we should support musical piracy because musical piracy was the key to have freedom in Russia. To have free information."
Other forms of digital piracy include the hand-to-hand in-person distribution of copies of software, p2p networks such as Freenet and IPFS, and more recently the adding of content into the Bitcoin Blockchain.
Pirated anything may be prone to software viruses or "trickware" due to malicious entities such as the MPAA. In 2006, the record company representing Madonna uploaded numerous fake torrent albums of This American Life to the BitTorrent network containing her saying the phrase "What the fuck do you think you're doing." Hactivist collectives such as Phrack later attacked her website in response. This was an act as what is known as "Torrent Poisoning".
Another example of Torrent Poising occurred, somewhat bizarrely, in the year 2010. Multiple copies of MS-DOS were uploaded to various torrent websites which were billed as having every version of MS-DOS ever released. Combined, the whole torrent amounted to about 10GB. When finished downloading, the user discovered that every single file was a disguised .bat file which produced a Pong game playable in a command prompt window. It is unknown if Microsoft was responsible.
If you are intent on stealing software, at least do it right. The following recommendations are merely for entertainment purposes and do not in any way condone the piracy of software:
- Look into private trackers
- Consider using a VPN service
- Consider a Seedbox
- Educate Yourself, St00pid
- The Pirate Book - A history of Copyright Infringment