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CCPR-CREATe Lecture with Prof. Martin Paul Eve: “Warez”? The Infrastructures and Aesthetics of Piracy

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CCPR-CREATe Lecture with Prof. Martin Paul Eve: “Warez”? The Infrastructures and Aesthetics of Piracy

By 12 April 2022January 3rd, 2024No Comments

We are delighted to announce a joint CCPR/CREATe Lecture with Professor Martin Paul Eve, Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London.

The talk will be chaired by Melanie Selfe.

Tuesday 12 April, 1pm on Zoom.

“Warez”? The Infrastructures and Aesthetics of Piracy

When most people think of piracy, they think of Bittorrent and The Pirate Bay. These public manifestations of piracy, though, conceal an elite worldwide, underground, organized network of pirate groups who specialize in obtaining media – music, videos, games, and software – before their official sale date and then racing against one another to release the material for free.

This talk examines this underground subculture, which began life in the pre-internet era Bulletin Board Systems and moved to internet File Transfer Protocol servers (“topsites”) in the mid- to late-1990s. The “Scene,” as it is known, is highly illegal in almost every aspect of its operations. The term “Warez” itself refers to pirated media, a derivative of “software.” Taking a deep dive in the documentary evidence produced by the Scene itself, I here describe the operations and infrastructures an underground culture with its own norms and rules of participation, its own forms of sociality, and its own artistic forms. Even though modes of digital piracy are often framed within ideological terms of equal access to knowledge and culture, I uncover in the Warez Scene a culture of competitive ranking and one-upmanship that is at odds with the often communalist interpretations of piracy.

Please contact Samantha Emanuel Samantha.Emanuel@glasgow.ac.uk to register for this event.