Avast, Ye Mateys!

Avast, Ye Mateys!
The Pirate's Ballad

Graeme Virtue | 17 Feb 2009 13:03
Avast, Ye Mateys! - RSS 2.0

When I put forward the argument that game and movie piracy genuinely affects the talented and creative people who make this stuff, D-Man2010 takes a sharp left turn into a passionate and legally problematic rant that has the flavor of a personal vendetta. (Maybe it is personal - Loader himself name checked D-Man2010 in an article he wrote for the The Sunday Times newspaper.)

I get the sense he would agree to talk on the phone - hell, he once hacked into NASA's servers live on TV for a respected UK documentary series - but I want to maintain a certain sense of distance. Late one Saturday night, though, I email some follow-up questions, and get a rapid, chatty response.

TE: Why did you stop playing games?
DM: I just grew out of them. Got more of a buzz releasing Amiga games than playing them. The last year of having an Amiga I didn't even own a joystick.

TE: As a pirate, what advice would you give the anti-piracy industry?
DM: a) Screen coating that prevents camcording, which is commercially available in the far east. The result in trying to record the screen is a white glare/glow on the camcorder - that would be the 1st thing.

b) Film companies should immediately detach themselves from the MPAA & FACT respectfully and employ in-house anti-piracy teams specializing in stopping the spread of their own films. The MPAA & FACT are anachronistic parodies of themselves.

TE: I should have asked this in the first place: WHY do you do it?
DM: Because I can. If the guy who posted/uploaded the highest amount of films (3500) on the world's fastest pirate forum Movie Forumz (B4 it went down) and runs the fastest stand alone film site on the planet is blatantly criticizing and taking the piss out of the anti-piracy "Industry" - and furthermore doing interviews about it; I think it says far more about the state of them than it does me, wouldn't you say?

***

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Around the time of our last contact, a new-ish film called The Escapist was uploaded on Film Update List. Was this a sly nod from D-Man2010? Had he already hacked into my computer? I was starting to get a bit paranoid - this guy had, after all, phoned the Queen. I needed out. I couldn't publicly condone D-Man2010's activities. Sure, his site would have allowed me to see the arthouse horror Baghead, Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq drama The Hurt Locker and Rod Lurie's latest political polemic Nothing But The Truth (all films currently without a UK distributor). But I was increasingly concerned that in interviewing D-Man2010 I might mythologize his outlaw status. Then I realized that D-Man2010 is as enamoured with the actual act of pirating as he is with the image of himself as a pirate. It's not about a love of games or even a love of movies for D-Man2010, it is about taunting the next big authority figure, waving his pirate flag in their face. He had, as he said, grown out of the videogame scene and moved on to the MPAA, a centralized organization far easier to perturb than the splintered videogame publishers. I needn't have worried about accidentally glorifying this digital Blackbeard; his life's work is mythologizing himself.

Graeme Virtue is a freelance writer based in Scotland. He started 2009 pretending to be Yoshi, but will always be Raphael at heart. How boring!

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