Apparently The Word 'Piracy' No Longer Sufficiently Derogatory For Entertainment Industry

from the what's-next? dept

We already wrote about the release this week of a highly misleading report about how many jobs “piracy” was going to “cost” Europe. However, a bunch of folks have been sending in the Reuters coverage of the announcement of the report, which included some fascinating comments from Agnete Haaland, the president of the International Actors’ Federation, who argues that there needs to be an even stronger word for infringement than “piracy,” claiming that the “pirate” connotation is too glamorous:

“We should change the word piracy,” she told reporters at the unveiling of the report on Wednesday.

“To me, piracy is something adventurous, it makes you think about Johnny Depp. We all want to be a bit like Johnny Depp. But we’re talking about a criminal act. We’re talking about making it impossible to make a living from what you do,” she said.

Ok. Pick your jaw up off the floor. First, this is stunning in that it’s been the entertainment industry itself that pushed and popularized the term “piracy” for copyright infringement. They did so very deliberately in an attempt to demonize the act of infringement, presenting it as something much worse. That some have since taken that term and embraced it hardly changes that initial fact. Second, she’s wrong about the fact that they’re “talking about a criminal act.” Yes, in some cases copyright infringement may be a criminal act, but in most cases the use of “piracy” these days refers to civil issues between two parties and not criminal acts at all.

Then again, given that this was a statement made in favor of a blatantly misleading report, perhaps it’s not surprising that the speakers were blatantly misleading as well.

In the meantime, does anyone have any suggestions for Ms. Haaland on what we should call the act of copyright infringement?

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Comments on “Apparently The Word 'Piracy' No Longer Sufficiently Derogatory For Entertainment Industry”

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Joe Thomas Crown says:

One more name off the list.

On the upside, they won’t be able to use thief. Though I don’t engage in infringment, when I think of thieves, I think of glamorous folks snatching priceless works and jetting off to tropical islands.

That and Dungeons and Dragons, which is its own class of awesome.

In short, far too complimentary for these scofflaws.

Oops, I think scofflaw is too harmless! Knock that one off the list too. (profile) says:

Also, i would like to add something that another commentator wrote (and i support) :

Well if were going to use the term Copyright infringers for those who do so, what shall we call the lobbyists that have been howling “piracy” for the past 20 some odd years instead of building a new business model?

I propose copyright extortionists, as this covers what the lobbyists and industry are trying to do to us and our government.

Gumnos says:

Framing the language

Does that mean they’d accept the term “rape” for what they do to the Commons? Given that the Commons hasn’t given consent, that would make it “statutory rape”. Given that the Commons hasn’t been allowed to mature since Mickey, I guest that makes it “statutory rape of a minor”. Yes, if we’re renaming “infringement” to “piracy”[1] and “theft”[2], then let’s rename the media industries actions as “statutory rape of a minor”

[1] “an illegal act of violence, detention, or plunder committed for private ends by crew or passengers of a private ship or aircraft against another ship or aircraft on the high seas or in a place outside the jurisdiction of any state”. Given that copyright infringement doesn’t involve violence, detention, a private vessel, and it doesn’t happen on the high seas or in a place outside the jurisdiction of any state”, that’s a bit of a misnomer for them.

[2] involves removing somebody else’s property, not making a copy for yourself, so again a bit of a misnomer.

Beefcake (profile) says:

Ironic Nomenclature

“To me, piracy is something adventurous, it makes you think about Johnny Depp.” So the entertainment industry says they need a new word because they themselves glamorized the term “piracy”.

If they still argue “inciting infringement” should be a criminal act, maybe they should be held to the same standard if “inciting piracy” by making murder, rape, and actual theft on the high seas glamorous.

ChiisaiTenshi (profile) says:

Re: terrorists

Well they’re obviously terrorists. Duh. Because they’re threatening mass murder of artists and their families. You know because most people never buy the content.
Now that I’m through with the sarcasm, what if the copyrighted content is not readily available in your country through any other means?

RD says:

Re: Re: terrorists

“Now that I’m through with the sarcasm, what if the copyrighted content is not readily available in your country through any other means?”

Or at all? why is it that content that is LOCKED UP and NEVER made available in ANY FORM is “illegal” to obtain? How is this promoting progress or useful arts? I like a show called The John Larroquette Show, especially the first season. Can I buy this? No, its not offered. Can I download it? Yes, if I know where to go. Is this download “official” or “legal?” Well, considering that it was aired FOR FREE NATIONWIDE ON TV, it shouldnt be illegal to obtain it when the corps who own it WONT OFFER IT FOR SALE ANYWHERE. This is a significant point that gets lost in all the rhetoric on “piracy.” Its one thing when its Lost or Heroes, its another when its something that you CAN NOT GET because its NOT OFFERED THROUGH ANY LEGAL MEANS.

ECA (profile) says:

A little history

There were not allot of REAL pirates.
Under THEIR understanding.

MOST were privateers, hired by 1 nation to raid ships of the OTHER nations. The problem with being a Pirate to every nation, was you had NO PLACE to land/dock..
Until the America’s were discovered, there were FEW places that you could go that didnt have Military control, at the Docks.

In THIS market, as in the OLD..
Piracy should be considered a Business model to COMPETE with.
Small time Pirates arnt making that much money, so tend to be of little harm.
BIG time pirates, have MORE expenses, and need to pay those that they HIRE. IF they can do it so cheap, WHY cant the CORPS do it as cheap? AT LEAST at a MORE reasonable price.
For all the money the Corps pay to PROTECT THEIR OWN GOODS, they could fire the Lawyers, Kill the Copy protection, DESIGN a better CHEAP distribution system, and MAKE more money by LOWERING the price.

BearGriz72 (profile) says:

Re: End of submissions...

Intellectual Ventures ? ? = ? Vile Utterance Nut Sell
Intellectual Vultures? ? ? = ?? Unsettle Cultural Evil
Copyright Extortionists ? = ? Hypocrite Got In Six Torts
Corporate Executive? ??? = ? Executor Pirate Cove
Freedom Rapists? ?? ? ? ? = ? ? A Fed Misreports
Intellectual Property ? ? = ? Procure Little Penalty
Imaginary Property? ? ?? = ? Repay Trampy Origin

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I knew there was another reason for hating Christmas.

You mean for sharing? Like when Jesus made copies of the loaves of bread and the fish and shared them with the crowd for free? (Despite the fishermen and bakers missing potential sales.) I know that goes against some of the capitalist views around here, but does it really have to make you hate all Christians?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“people are getting something without paying. that is theft of services at minimum.”

If someone wants to offer their music or software under a CC or GPL software, as many do, it’s not wrong for me to download said music or software without paying.

As for those who insist on having a monopoly, I would much prefer they find another job than to demand that society give them an unowed monopoly and then go out of its way to enforce said monopoly for no good reason (ie: by passing bogus laws that restrict our freedoms and invade our privacy and by wasting congresses money and our court systems money and everyone’s time trying to figure out what is and is not infringement even to the point where we must be psychic. The RIAA can’t even keep a list of copyright music they “own,” they just expect us to magically know). No, this is not acceptable, you want a monopoly to “make” (or distribute) music, find another job.

and those who have a monopoly on cableco/telco infrastructure need to go out of business too and, if anything, be jailed for their successful efforts to corrupt our politicians into giving them everything they want at public expense (and the politicians should equally be punished).

Fletcher says:

A Diabolical Plan

You call them “Child Pornographers,” and this is how you do it:

First, you watermark content with kiddie porn, then you share the watermarked content p2p. Then you go after everyone who got the content, claiming that they were really after the porn.

Of course, whoever actually does the original watermarking and initial distribution is committing a significant crime, so it should be outsourced.


a story of the pirate

one day his pirate vessel was boarded
they had to make find all the loot
there was a map
BUT they couldn’t copy it cause that would be piracy/theft?
Note here they did not just take the map and go get the loot.

this is perfect analogy to whats going on.
get over it hollywood your time is now coming.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

But I’m Dutch, you insensitive clod… oh wait, did I just admit that i sometimes download copyrighted material?

Yes of course I did, I downloaded this article in my browser window, didn’t I?
Therefor I’m a ‘Dutch Buccaneer’/raporist/freeloading asstard/ninja/pirate/babykiller, except that in NL, downloading of most material is legal, as it’s hard for the downloader to figure out whether something he downloaded was offered illegally or not.

Sorceress (profile) says:

New Title for "Piracy"

I suggest “Toe Stompers”. Obviously, using someone else’s content for your own pleasure is stomping on the creator’s toes. It reflects my opinion of the seriousness of the “crime”. A “crime” which is familiar to Hollywood and the music industry since “borrowing” ideas is pretty much endemic in those make-believe lands. There is a saying in Hollywood – Everyone wants to be the first one to do it the second time. Sort of speaks to the ridiculousness of all those hissy fit throwing self righteous content thieves crying about piracy. Anyway…isn’t the idea to get their product seen and heard by as many of the great unwashed as possible? There should be rejoicing in the corporate headquarters every time a song, film or other content is downloaded.

I claim the term as mine and mine alone! No one else can use any of those words EVER AGAIN!!!!! For any reason!!!!

Anonymous Coward says:

“To use the rather colourful imagery that internet piracy conjures up in a highly imperfect analogy, the file being shared in the swarm is the treasure, the BitTorrent client is the ship, the .torrent file is the treasure map, The Pirate Bay provides treasure maps free of charge and the tracker is the wise old man that needs to be consulted to understand the treasure map.”

Anonymous Coward says:

and look at this nonsense statement.

“”Consumers have to understand that there will be nothing to consume if it’s impossible to make money making the content.””

All the creative commons and GPL music and software out there is proof that you’re wrong.

I got a better idea. The news media has to understand that consumers will no longer take them seriously when they tell lies.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

– copy theft
– criminal possesion of media
– criminal possesion of copyrighted material
– possesion with intent to distribute (had to get a drug one in there)
– distribution of a controlled media (zing second drug war one)
– felony forced content liberation
– felony distribution of copyrighted content
– felony possesion of media
– etc
– etc

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Why doesn’t she come here and argue her case her case so that we can point out how ridiculous most of the claims are and see how she responds. Why is she hiding behind a corrupt mainstream media that would automatically censor criticisms sent in to the editor? Come here, where we can actually have a meaningful discussion and correct you, instead of hiding in the corner.

Anonymous Coward says:

“”To me, piracy is something adventurous, it makes you think about Johnny Depp. We all want to be a bit like Johnny Depp. But we’re talking about a criminal act. We’re talking about making it impossible to make a living from what you do,” she said. “

It just boggles my mind how industry promotion nonsense lies can pass as news like this. This is just testimony to how corrupt our mainstream media, and our nation as a whole, has truly become.

matt says:


“in most cases the use of “piracy” these days refers to civil issues between two parties and not criminal acts at all.”

Mike that might be your opinion, but it isn’t necessarily factual. For example here in Texas non-commercial infringement is in the criminal statutes. That’s the case for many states including all of the ones I had time to look up (which granted was only a few but still).

Anonymous Coward says:

Ms. Haaland will probably suggest we add those who might violate copyright to the sex offender list.
I mean after all, content creators give birth to their creation-that makes it a child, and “kidnapping” that child means your name goes on the list, at least in Georgia. THE SCARY THING IS SOME IDIOT PROSECUTOR MIGHT MAKE THIS ARGUMENT.

Darryl says:

Call it what you will!

It’s only ONE thing, plain and simple, it’s THEFT.

If you think artists just want to be seen and heart, you completly wrong, they want to sell their product of their labour. Just like everyone does.

Ofcourse pirates can do it cheaper than the original company, they do not have to pay for the development and support of that product.

A muso spends his life and many hours learning his art, his reward for his efforts is money from sales.

A pirate, just has to copy his works and sell them cheaper, thats theft, it’s just that simple.

You sound like a bunch of ‘spin doctors’ trying to put a nice face of something that is illegal.

Call it breaking the law, or whatever you like, but call it for what it is, it’s theft of someone elses efforts, and by stealing it you take away from the sales of those who laboured to create it.

what if you spend $3000 on a ROLEX watch, (or $30,000), and you find that it’s a fake, it’s a pirated version of the original, and after 6 months it’s stops working.
What you have done is steal off the person you sold that fake watch too, thats theft, and it’s gaining profit from false pretenses. You (the pirate), have made lots of money by cheating, and copying something that is successful and popular for you own gains.

Someone said, if they dont like pirates, they should do something else…. like what ?? So should every muso stop creating songs, because you feel you have a right to steal his works?

It’s a crime, its not usually a civil matter, it’s a serious problem, and if any of you have travelled any you will have seen hundreds of pirated music, software, jewlery, clothes anything, to make a quick buck…

It’s a crime, and should be treated as such. Trying to “spin” it as something other than theft is just trying to justify you’re cream more so.

So get over it, and if you want something, expect to pay for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Call it what you will!

Copyright infringement is not theft. One is a civil matter, for non-commercial purposes, while theft is a criminal matter.

How can you “steal” an infinite good?

If you think artists just want to be seen and heart, you completly wrong, they want to sell their product of their labour. Just like everyone does.

They want to TRY to sell their product. Perhaps musicians in the 21st century might be better off attempting to try to sell a scarce good, as opposed to an infinite one?

I am an artist who gifts their work into the public domain. My biggest fear isn’t piracy, it’s obscurity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Call it what you will!

You might also want to look at another of the useful arts, the sciences, to see how well they dealt with infinity back in the day.

Point being, they didn’t. Kind of like how artists are having trouble dealing with the economic reality of infinite goods.

Welcome to the 21st century. Enjoy your stay.

I don’t pirate music because the recording industry destroyed any interest that I had in music. I would rather listen to silence.

But it’s the pirates who are destroying the musical arts.

Sure it is.

Philip (profile) says:

Re: Call it what you will!

what if you spend $3000 on a ROLEX watch, (or $30,000), and you find that it’s a fake, it’s a pirated version of the original, and after 6 months it’s stops working.

That’s call “counterfeit.” There are plenty of legal counterfeit rolexes out there – they just don’t call themselves ROLEX for obvious reasons.

You seem to be confused as to the difference in piracy and theft. It’s simple: in theft, the original product is lost. In piracy, you still have the original.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Call it what you will!

If artists want money let them work like everyone else and earn it the HARD WAY going to a JOB. Concerts, live presentations, authographa signing, ANYTHING instead of going to a studio for some hours and then milking the results of their “LABOUR” for ever!!

Your original product remain with you isn’t it? I have another word for people who wants to keep charging for ever the same amount for their products and its this “AVARICE”!!

Fair compensation , yes, perpetual compensation for old products, creations , NO. It makes content “creators” lazy.
Once they do this then talk about justice!!

Andrew (profile) says:


I agree that Piracy maybe an inaccurate word cause at the heart of the issue how can you really steal something that is infinite?

Back in the day raiding some port or whatever you actually took and that person didn’t get it back. Nowadays its more like you have something that can be copied infinitely. Does that really ring piracy? It more rings something like just plain old COPYING.

As for a word I don’t know what to suggest.

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