Shiver Me Timbers – Surveilling the Pirates


Tink : Buccaneer by (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Tink : Buccaneer by (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Online Piracy is an interesting topic, and there are many sides to the proverbial coin; equal arguments for and against, some of my favorites are:

  • People who download, wouldn’t pay to see it anyway; so there is no loss of income.
  • People who download are destroying a fragile industry.
  • I feel cheated and want to ‘preview’ the movie before paying to go see it.
  • By downloading you are hurting the workers (i.e. people like yourself) and not the corporation that you despise.

Seeing them written down they all seem a bit pathetic; in reality most people that download just want stuff for free.

A big part of the picture is that anytime something is shared between users via the internet, it is possible to be traced and tracked. Which was the case with the recent Australian court battle between the creators of the Dallas Buyers Club movie and iiNet (an internet service provider or ISP).

Piracy! by Brandon (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Piracy! by Brandon (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Internet pirates can be tracked in many ways:

  • As detailed at is to coordinate up-loaders ‘handle’ or user name with other accounts, such as Facebook, and correlate known data to provide an online image of that handle and once enough data has been collected they can obtain contact details and then inform authorities. One way to bunk this is to have separate aliases for any site you are using.
  • An anti-piracy firm will follow a torrent ‘swarm’ and note down IP addresses, then it will try to obtain addresses from the ISP’s; the ISP may or may not pass on the users details and then you can be located and charged or threatened with action (Karlsson 2015).

For the most part the mass up loaders are being targeted, in recent news the suspected creator of Kickass Torrents has been arrested, and the websites associated with it seized.

When individuals are targeted, it can be with tracked files and information provided by an ISP. However, many ISP’s are interested in protecting the privacy of their employers and refuse to pass on the information. If a person is doing something illegal – despite what anyone may think downloading copyrighted information is against the law – should they be held accountable, or should they have the right to have their identity protected? Like most things it is a case of once the door is opened…

The Internet and Privacy by Bernard Goldbach (CC BY-2.0)
The Internet and Privacy by Bernard Goldbach (CC BY-2.0)

But then should the line be drawn somewhere? Do we really need to be anonymous on the internet? How many times is there a story over some troll slinging horrific comments about some recent tragedy. Surely if these people can be found and held accountable that is a good thing.

My personal thoughts on downloading are, when a studio has intrinsically used bullshit promotional tactics to trick people into seeing a film that they fully know is well below par, then they have lost the faith of the community and deserve for further projects to be pirated. When a company has a high value commodity but chooses to release it in a manner that forces consumers to purchase other unwanted items, then they deserve to be pirated.

How can companies combat the hydra that is online piracy? Stop trying to remove its head and give people what they want – easy access at a reasonable price.


Karlsson, A 2015, ‘How likely is it you will get in trouble for downloading movies via torrent sites in the USA in 2016?’,, retrieved 30/08/2016, <>.

3 Replies to “Shiver Me Timbers – Surveilling the Pirates”

  1. Great work Rob !! This post actually made me feel like I am doing something wrong when I download stuff for free. And the truth is that I should feel bad but it is a fact that people wold rather do everything the easy way especially when it comes to money. I like your suggestion at the end as I believe it is something that we have all thought of before. What is also interesting in this post is the fact that you “expose” in a way the intrigue that companies create in order to make us buy stuff instead of downloading. Good stuff !!


  2. Hello Rob!

    This is a very informative and entertaining post!
    Your writing is clear and concise and you get straight to the point. I like that you use bullet points for explanation, as it breaks up the article and makes it easy to read.
    Your choice of images add an element of humour to the article.
    Piracy seems to be inevitable in our online era, and I agree with your stance on the topic- that the movie production giants make a ridiculous amount of money from their often- less than quality films.
    Overall I enjoyed reading this post!


  3. Hi,Rob!
    The way you write your blog is simple and effective. Moreover, the readers can easily get the message that you want to deliver trough this blog. Afterwards, I like the several numbers of example pictures that you use such as the two pirates girls. Furthermore, the tittle topic of your blog is interesting and attractive as the pirates girls pictures and it makes the readers of your blog curious to read your blog. My suggestion, it is better if you add more your twitter activities screen shoot rather than just one and its more interesting If you add your several own pictures.

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