Are you a Pirate? A blog about Music Piracy

Hello again to my fellow bloggers and readers!

I am writing to you once again about issues revolving around copyright laws, and more so the music industry and its laws. As I have mentioned in the title of this blog a question that you may want to ponder after reading this posting.
I am not referring the term ‘pirate’ to the typical “rough-and-tumble man churning on the high seas, brandishing a cutlass, and squinting hard with one eye while his other lies behind a rugged black patch” (Steinmetz & Tunnell, 2013, p. 53).

I am referring to the youth culture today and how they use, purchase and sometimes even steal music, movies and other sorts of media. Steinmetz and Tunnell explain the modern pirate as “[y]oung people, using computers to download digitized intellectual property” (Steinmetz & Tunnell, 2013, p. 53). Many young people have made their own youth culture by using programs such as Napster; that are built for sharing music and communicating from one person to another. They have per say created their own sub culture of piracy (Bradley, 2006, para.1). Though most pirates today are in fact youth, there is the odd person outside of this age category as well.

Even with all of the preventative measures towards piracy that the industries have been making, there is still this issue of stolen music and movies. Some of these preventative measures include posting labels on the DVD or VHS tape (in the past), and printed warnings on compact discs (CDs). Not only this, but “The Department of Homeland Security has shut down 82 websites that either engaged in the sale of counterfeit goods or facilitated on-line piracy” (Steinmetz & Tunnell, 2013, p. 54).

That being said, is taking artwork of others without their permission always piracy? Well, according to Larry Lessig it is not. Lessig argues that if the person is using music or images of others and creating their own work of art, such as a mash-up or a remix it is not piracy because the work is not reproduced in full. Lessig states that this is the world our youth is growing up in, and it is their way of communicating. This is a statement I definitely agree with, I can honestly say that I fall into this category, and perhaps maybe even a bit into the piracy category of music, however never of film. This brings me to ask myself this question: If I am willing to spend my money on good quality films, why not music as well? Is anyone else in this same boat? Are you a pirate of today?

Stay Strong, Happy and Healthy!

Bradley, D. (2006). Scenes of Transmission: Youth Culture, MP3 File Sharing, and Transferable Strategies of Cultural Practice. M/C Jounral. 9 (1).
Lessig, L. Laws that choke creativity. TED Talks (2007). Filmed March 2007, posted November 2007 on
Steinmetz, K., & Tunnell, K. (2013). Under the Pixilated Jolly Roger: A Study of On-Line Pirates. Deviant Behavior. 34(1), p. 53-67.


5 thoughts on “Are you a Pirate? A blog about Music Piracy

  1. I want to start off by saying I love the title of the this blog! so creative! To answer this question, I feel that to some degree I am a new generation pirate, however I do like to purchase music on iTunes so musicians I really want to support. I do feel it has become part of our culture. I think to some degree each person has partaken in some form of piracy.

    I too agree with Lessig when he says remixing shouldn’t be considered copyright since the person remixing it is using it for different reasons, bringing out there own creativity. What I’m stuck on is what defines something as remixing vs copyright? The line seems so fine, for me it is hard to distinguish.

    Great Post!

  2. I would like to comment on your concluding question. I, being outside the youth age, am also guilty of borrowing songs and pictures for remixing. Movies are a little harder to come by, and if you do find them the quality is nothing like seeing them on a big screen with surround sound. I have taken a popular song, changed the words and used them in my school christmas concerts. I do this because many christmas songs are boring and I like to get the kids excited about doing the christmas concert. Am I a pirate? Probably, but it is fun! Access is the key, and I don’t think about any consequences when doing it, and I don’t think that I am hurting anyone, consciously. I don’t make money off it, It just brings joy.
    Great blog

  3. helllo Jennna :)!
    Well I’d like to introduce myself, my name’s marissa and I’m a pirate (I feel like I’m at an alcoholics anonymous meeting haha), the fact is, I’m a student, I’m broke, and I love listening to music :)! .. so there’s kind of a problem, because music generally costs money, and well when it comes down to it, food’s going to come first! Though, I help out some of the artists I really thoroughly enjoy by going to their concerts, and getting sucked into buying their merchandise all the time! So I’m not a totally bad person, and concerts is where artists make a tonne of cash flow! Though lately, I’ve caved in and went and bought some of my favourite artists new cds, because frankly I’m lazy, and tired of constantly having to find a new downloader, and torrents and those programs you need in order for your torrents to work, then I’m always paranoid I’m going to go over my internet bill because I just downloaded a million albums lol, sorry I’m ranting, I guess I’m just spewing out the pros and cons and trying to make myself seem like an alright person even though I illegally download music ..
    And I agree witht he point of youth use remixing as a way of communicating, but I STILL don’t understand why no credit has to be given to the artist.. ties right back to when we use scholarly articles, we have to give credit to the author repeatedly, even when we paraphrase, which could be just like remixing music right? .. gah this whole copyright stuff still leaves me confused, which makes me a little sad because after ACTUALLY doing my readings every week, I still haven’t found clear cut answers to my questions! Though the reading’s have taught me alot, and along with getting to read everyone’s blogs :)!
    I’m sad this is coming to an end, I like seeing people’s perspectives on things of the same topic :)!

    WELL DONE!!!
    mar mar

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