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Raheel's Blog

Pirate and Piracy

/ 2 min read

Traditional Piracy

A pirate is synonymous with a robber. The pirate steals on the sea or “on land from the sea” without being commissioned by a sovereign authority. For those unfamiliar with the difference between theft, robbery, and burglary, robbery is theft accomplished by the use of force or fear.


It comes from definitions such as “attempt,” “trial,” or “attack.” But unless you’re in a cargo ship carrying Amazon packages off the coast of Somalia, you’re probably more familiar with the verb. To pirate is to rob or commit the act of piracy.

Modern Piracy

“It’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy.”

— Steve Jobs

I understand he meant to inspire people to take risks or innovate, but I see another interpretation.

“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”

— J. R. R. Tolkien

I think he’s wrong. When the good make bad choices or the bad make good choices, are they really what they seem? An internet pirate operates in this grey area. Is it good to give change to a homeless person? Is it good to pay taxes to a government that sends people to die? Is it good to stand for what is right when not everyone shares the definition?

Is it good to preserve content that a corporation destroys by copying and distributing it to your peers (literally)? Is it good to clone and watch a movie to avoid paying $12?

“If buying isn’t owning, then piracy isn’t stealing

Just like modern money, piracy isn’t real. It’s not theft because you’re not taking anything that doesn’t belong to you, but it is copyright infringement. But wait, it’s not. When you pirate a game, you don’t have access to the source code, but you still get to play the game without following the game’s license!

Piracy is on the edge of morality. Is it revenge on the organizations that exploit consumers (cough- Ubisoft/EA)? Is it apathy towards the finances of movie/TV/game/porn/software studios? Is it the rush of danger or camaraderie you get every time you seed instead of leech?

I’ve torn out my singular chest hair trying to define the modern pirate or the morality of piracy. I won’t get an answer.