Until fairly recently, the word “pirate” conjured up images of either scruffy thieves with a boat, or, for the more romantically inclined, suave, independent entrepreneurs who lived their lives by no laws except those they made for themselves. Nowadays, the word “pirate” is more likely to conjure up images of either Johnny Depp or scruffy thieves with a computer.
If you believe special interest groups like the RIAA, the internet is a wretched hive of scum and villainy, where every new movie, book or song is immediately pirated by hordes of Cheetos-eating basement dwellers. In truth, these claims are hard to verify. The pirates are unlikely to come forward in large enough numbers to generate solid statistics and, given the creative accounting performed by major studios, it’s possible the entertainment industry has no real idea where their product goes, or how it gets there. Continue reading