The Paradoxes of Piracy
Postcolonial Piracy: Media Distribution and Cultural Production in the Global South, eds. Lars Eckstein and Anja Schwarz (London, Bloosmbury Academic, 2014).
11 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2015
Date Written: March 1, 2014
Speaking about piracy as a thing, as a coherent practice, makes sense in certain situations. Yet it can also erase the difference between cultural and media practices that would be better considered on their own terms. Hence piracy often becomes a stand-in for incommensurable activities. This chapter offers a critical review of the ongoing 'piracy debate' by focusing on a particular problem that runs through the current conversation – a problem of naming. Specifically, I want to consider what is at stake in the term ‘piracy’ itself. The aim here is not only to make the usual point about the ‘pirate’ label – that it criminalises everyday activities – but rather to explore a more subtle tension within the critical counter-discourse on intellectual property, about whether a language of ‘piracy’ should be embraced, rejected, recuperated or rearticulated.
Keywords: piracy, copyright critique, intellectual property, informality, global media
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