Just some recent news:
– In February 2012 New Sealand police raided the offices of Megaupload.com, a big file sharing site, and arrested the owners. They were charged for being members of a criminal organisation and theft. After months the charges were dropped and on January 20th Kim Dotcom and his team launch the new website Mega.com;
– Wikileaks frontman Julian Assange publishes his new book ; Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet . While still “imprisoned” in London in the Ambassade of Equador.
– the hacker organisation “Anonymous” attacks and shuts down several big sites like Paypal , Sony Playstation Netwerk and Facebook in several organised DDOS raids. They published a Manifest on freedom of information on Internet;
– Dutch Minister Opstelten says hackers are of the hook when they inform the organisations they hack and help them fill the security holes. This is called Ethical hacking;
– on January 12th Aaron Swartz, 26 years old Internet activist and RSS co-pioneer commits suicide. In 2011 he was indicted on federal charges for illegally downloading and publishing documents. The trial was set to start in April and he faced as many as 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines.
All stories are reports from the frontier called Internet. Activists versus government which tries to put existing rules in a new territory. This is an age old tale about piracy. Piracy is the principle when groups of people (often organized) question the rules in a new environment. It’s a title used for all type of activities throughout the last hundreds of years. From old Johnny Depp like Pirates of the Caribbean types, Robin Hood till today’s people like Kim Dotcom and organisations like Anonymous. French researchers Rodolphe Durand and Jean-Philippe Vergne 2010 book “L’Organisation Pirate: Essai sur l’évolution du capitalisme” is translated in English and has recently been published by HBSP as “The Pirate Organization: lessons from the fringes of capitalism”. It’s a jewel which puts light on the great value pirates had and still have in defining boarders and creating value in uncharted waters. Piracy is the signal of great economic change. In older times they challenged rights on land, water and airwaves. In current times it’s Internet and to my surprise DNA. Times of great piracy activity foretell a capitalist revolution. We now have two at hand!
Power holders use the known rights and norms to sustain the pressure piracy unleashes. Or they use pirates themselves. These are known as corsairs. Formerly hacker KLevin Mitnick is such a corsair. He switched sides after being in prison for years on the account of theft. Now he runs a successful computer security firm. Modern day capitalists and power holders are publishers and movie right holders. Afraid of losing their market to peer-to-peer networks the charge hackers with files for copyright infringement (Megaupload). Or theft (Wikileaks). Or terrorism (Anonymous and Wikileaks).
The authors have written a ultra modern acclaim that what happens on Internet and in modern laboratories are no ordinary fights but signs of revolutionairy changes.
The book has been published under the Creative Commons regulation. More information can be found on ThePirateOrganization website.