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Category: Movies, TV, Celebrities

The Online Pirate Code

With the seemingly-insatiable greed and cruelty of streaming platform executives becoming especially prominent over the course of the SAG-AFTRA strikes, some people have sought to consume their media in a more morally-gray way by replacing streaming services with a media server such as Plex or Jellyfin.

While I do not seek to condone piracy, and this is not a guide on how to do it, I was inspired by a joke I made on Twitter to create an Online Pirate Code.

To run a morally-sound media server, an Online Pirate shall:

  1. Plunder out of need, not want. Seek lawful means of accessing content whenever possible. This does not mean that you must subscribe to every streaming service or buy every Blu-Ray that comes out, but if these options are within your means, they should be your first consideration.
  2. Take only the spoils. Refrain from downloading recent releases. While region locks complicate this, you should wait until the work you seek has been available through its publisher's distribution channels for a reasonable time.
  3. Leech according to your need, seed according to your ability. You don't need to run a seedbox, but you should strive to maintain a positive ratio whenever possible.
  4. Maintain your piece. Ensure that the device you are seeding from is not infected with malware and validate that the files that you seed are not malicious. Where possible, verify the legitimacy of the file and correct any bad tags on the file.
  5. Vote in affairs of the moment. If possible, leave feedback on sites and promote good torrents while using available mechanisms to "bury" bad ones.
  6. Initiate new crewmates. Discretely assist new pirates in learning how to sail. You are under no obligation to provide direct assistance, but linking to a good resource (such as the /r/piracy Wiki) is preferable to telling someone to figure it out themselves. 
  7. Offer no quarter when none is given. A publisher may be rendered exempt from the relevant articles for particularly egregious behavior.

In case it needs to be said, running a moral server is not the same as running a legal server. Laws are often at odds with morals and it is fairly common for the unauthorized distribution of intellectual property, such as copyrighted media, to be against the law.

These articles are not fixed or definitive rules but guidelines to foster a community of Online Pirates. Many of these are already "best practices" among long-term pirates. The details are left to the individual as everyone's needs are different and we all have different ethical lines.


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