A black stencil of a pirate ship with a cassette tape and crossbones sailing with a four-headed hydra directly behind it.

Hydra Bay

Have you illegally downloaded something today? Good work! Remember: every act of piracy further demolishes the limping, dilapidated copyright regime, and the more people who protest against artificial scarcity, the better the world will be.

There was a brief, tumulous period of time where the Pirate Bay, now the 89th most popular website in the world, split up into six different domain names to stop governments from censoring their free culture. While I don’t know who created this work, leading me to once again pimp the Tomb of the Unknown Artist, what I do know is that it’s bad–ass. And I sure don’t use that word lightly.

People often think of piracy as the downloading of popular media, like video games, movies, and TV shows. And certainly there is a huge culture there we would be remiss without! But in fact, every act of illegal filesharing is an act of piracy, such as books, research papers, scientific evidence, and laws. Knowledge is very dangerous to those who have secrets. The quickest way to defeat corruption is to keep circulating the tapes, keep uploading bootlegs to YouTube, and always remember to seed.

The funny thing is, if it wasn’t for the single saving grace of copyright law called “fair use”, this blog would be an act of piracy. Oh, yeah. Spreading art. So dangerous. So illegal. Treat it like black tar heroin, boys, and maybe throw me in jail. It’s okay — the Pirate Bay founders got a year in jail, and now they’re immortalised forever! Of course, that was in Sweden. In the United States, you’d probably be executed. Because art is bad.

I guess I could talk more about piracy in my cheekily abrasive way, if only in the filesharing sense and not the Richard Stallman “sinking ships is bad” sense of cheeky abrasiveness that fits in perfectly with his sense of humour that manages to just barely be human enough to make people understand the message, though alien to the point where people don’t know whether to laugh or stare blankly. But let’s be real. Anybody who isn’t a pirate nowadays is as rare as… well, a ship–sinking pirate.

You would think the prospect of — sing it with me, kids — any piece of media, for free, forever, would lead to a cultural paradise that tears down every discriminatory thing that faces our world, where information is not restricted by how much you can pay for it, but how much you want to read, and where you can indulge in your fundamental human right to culture. Indeed, it would. But some companies have deluded themselves into thinking that they’re better than their audience. What a shame.

Scarier still are the artists who have been deluded into buying into these corporate lies. Art gains more power the more it is spread, and artists get more famous the more their name is spread. Any artist who is against their work being spread is not much of an artist in my opinion. I’ll make up a new term for them… let’s call them “permission creatives”, because they only create if you follow into their permission culture.

The fashion industry cannot copyright clothes, and it is an extraordinarily successful and competitive field. You cannot copyright a toy, and this is why we have so many excellent plushies to choose from. Anything made by the United States government cannot be copyrighted, which is why Wikipedia is able to report on corruption and injustice without fear of being sued, and why there are so many high–quality pictures of medical, geographical, and historical significance.

Remember that any art that you need permission to indulge in, spread far and wide, and use for any purpose whatsoever, is a corruption of the entire purpose of art. We had lived for 5,000 years without copyright, and the arts flourished. Anybody could take an idea that was released to the public, for the public, and by the public, and expand upon it in any way they like. This is the essence of freedom.

Copyright is a cultural cancer, and piracy is the chemo which cures it. Always remember the art that made you. Always remember the legacy you will leave.

Date: 2017–02–22. Size: 7,299 bytes. Colours: 1.

Upscaled Dimensions: 994×718. Original Dimensions: 497×359.