Friday, June 02, 2006


Pirates are "in" - see Jon B-M's recent action in Canada. Why suddenly do so many of us catch the stench of privateering as it wafts from the harbour across the campuses... echoed in Mick Taussig's course last term at Columbia on pirates too, and more

Posthegemony: "piracy, nomadism, and the state
The complexity and confusion regarding piracy's political economy leads to, is amplified in, and exacerbates a similar set of confusions regarding piracy's relation to the state. Moreover, an added complication here concerns first, the range of piratical activities and the nomenclature used to describe them, and second the historical vicissitudes of piracy from at least the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, in other words precisely during the period of the European state's consolidation, and imperial expansion. Take the issue of nomenclature. Though sometimes all non-state maritime violence is considered under the label of piracy, the series of differing terms employed at other times indicates multiple attempts (often finally frustrated) to distinguish between different forms of violence, or more strictly its different degrees of legitimacy. Pirate, buccaneer, privateer, private man-of-war, corsair, filibuster, freebooter, coastal raider. . . all these terms indicate subtle differentiations, of which by far the most important is that between privateer and pirate."


Gregor Claude said...

Hey John,

The word pirate kept bouncing around in my head – it comes up constantly in my work too. So I had to indulge my inner word-nerd, and found this:

from etymology online (

pirate (n.)
1254, from O.Fr. pirate, from L. pirata "sailor, sea robber," from Gk. peirates "brigand, pirate," lit. "one who attacks," from peiran "to attack, make a hostile attempt on, try," from peira "trial, an attempt, attack," from PIE base *per- "try" (cf. L. peritus "experienced," periculum "trial, experiment, risk, danger," see peril). Meaning "one who takes another's work without permission" first recorded 1701; sense of "unlicensed radio broadcaster" is from 1913. The verb is first recorded 1574.


c.1225, from O.Fr. peril (10c.), from L. periculum "an attempt, risk, danger," with instrumentive suffix -culum and root of ex-peri-ri "to try," cognate with Gk. peria "trial, attempt, experience," empeiros "experienced," O.Ir. aire "vigilance," Goth. ferja "watcher," O.E. fær "danger, fear," all ult. from PIE base *per- "to lead across."

So no link to pyre or pyro (from Greek pura, fire). But the links to empeiros, 'experiment' and 'experience' are delicious.

For pure definitional cravenness nothing beats my computer's built-in dictionary, which would have you believe that the only sense in which pirate has any specifically contemporary meaning is in relation to copyright:

pirate |ˈpīrət|
a person who attacks and robs ships at sea.
• a person who appropriates or reproduces the work of another for profit without permission, usually in contravention of patent or copyright : [with adj. ] software pirates.
• a person or organization that broadcasts radio or television programs without official authorization : [as adj. ] a pirate radio station.

verb [ trans. ]
1 dated rob or plunder (a ship).
2 [often as adj. ] ( pirated) use or reproduce (another's work) for profit without permission, usually in contravention of patent or copyright : he sold pirated tapes of Hollywood blockbusters | a competing company cannot pirate its intellectual achievements.

1 pirates boarded the ship freebooter, marauder, raider; historical privateer; archaic buccaneer, corsair.
2 software pirates copyright infringer, plagiarist, plagiarizer.
designers may pirate good ideas steal, plagiarize, poach, copy illegally, reproduce illegally, appropriate, bootleg; informal crib, lift, rip off, pinch.

It does make you want to hoist the black flag.

By the way, do you know the (apparently untrue) legend that the skull and crossbones flag was derived from the skull and crossbones at the entrance to St Nicholas Churchyard, Deptford?

Jeff said...

Pirates raided in Sweden

This one is brilliant! It traces internet traffic in Sweden during the period of the raid.

Pirate Bay's legal aid

More info:

Jeff said...

Sorry, internet traffic link didn't work. Here it is again...

John Hutnyk said...

I was reading about this in the morning and one post said (angrily) this was a faked raid to announce (and secure publicity for/traffic/hits) a relaunch/upgrade of their product. If so, funny. I will see if I can trace it again.

John Hutnyk said...

So the comment (by Ejon) that this was faked was on:

Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:13 am Post

next time you promote an upgrade or relocation please use something else like a local weather event or a hardware failure because one of these days you pull another trick like that it may actually go down because some angry fans may turn on you can actually call the swedish police or equiv of the fbi and arrange a real raid.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 10:16 am Post subject:

Have you heard something we haven't heard Ejon?
|One Guy In A Hat

[powered by bri]

bri said...

Yup, back online - shop and all.

No crowing about their glorious victory/upgrade on the site yet, so maybe it wasn't the scam you are hoping it was!

bri said...

Ah, I spoke a bit too soon. Crowing (from the nest, I suppose!) has appeared.

Anonymous said...

more follow up - "how piratebay changed sweden".