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Of the many sorts of pirates, there is the overly romanticized image of those two hundred plus years ago. The swaggering type, popularized by Captain Jack Sparrow whose sole purpose in life is to “rape, pillage, and plunder me weasley black guts out”. These pirates with their drunken toothlessness would be avoided by most civilized folk today. They are the equivalent of mass muggers who have fled the alleyway towards the open seas and bigger game.

One has that quivering legend in Sherwood Forest who hung out with his Merry Men. His livelihood was gained by stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. That is a seeming noble deed, except for the fact that the receivers of his theft hadn’t earned what they were given, and the Hood always kept a percentage for themselves as operating costs. This type of pirate is also romanticized; but, it is little more than an idealized version of the welfare state of today.

There is the fictional Ragnar Danneskjöld. He is a pirate in the philosophical masterpiece of Ayn Rand, “Atlas Shrugged”. This pirate is worthy of admiration. In a sense, since theft implies ownership, he wasn’t a thief at all. What he did was to take the taxes that had been stolen from the productive and return it (as gold) to them. As he used his own wealth to fund his piracy, he indeed was as noble as portrayed.

There are the millions of digital pirates in the world today. This form of piracy is mostly just a label by the state. Since the state has protected the monopolies of the entertainment industry, there is little money actually reaching the artists whose work is so enjoyed. A study has shown that sales increase with the free distribution of pirated music.

There is a good chance that there will be a new form of piracy in the US. The Supreme Court is to decide on a case (link below) that will make it illegal to sell second-hand copyrighted materials manufactured abroad. This means that you wouldn’t legally be able to sell your smartphone, your car, or quite possibly your house (if they contained such items) without permission of the copyright owner. So, either we don’t sell what we own (free and clear) or we become pirates in a new sense of the word. Who would think that a person could be a pirate by selling his own legally acquired possessions? What an insane world we live in. If such where the case, we should all be pirates in this new world order run by the corporation.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/cert/08-1423

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