When I was a kid, we would record music off the radio by plugging headphones into the microphone jack of the stereo, figuring out which ear was the mic, and holding up to the stereo speakers. Pirating technology has evolved substantially since then, and I saw the whole thing.
Nowadays people don’t pirate songs, they pirate discographies at a time. TV shows are uploaded before the West Coast broadcast, and streaming services have popped up left and right to carry the torch of Kim Dotcom’s MegaUpload project.
The analog methods of my youth are obsolete, and kids these days have no clue what Napster was. Here are the ways in which we pirate music today.
1 – The Pirate Bay…
Much like Tortuga in the Caribbean, ThePirateBay consistently ranks as the place to be for trading digital content of any kind. Be sure to browse the torrent of files here with caution. Click the magnets to download, and keep your mouse and cursor inside your browser window at all times. Do not feed the trolls.
Otherwise, enjoy searching through the internet’s largest digital black market while the pirates keep the government and lawyers at bay. Be sure to download and install a Bittorrent client (BitTorrent and BitComet are my personal favorites) and PeerBlock to ensure you’re kept safe from prying eyes. Torrents are the basis of the Tor network, and P2P neighborhood watches are necessary in today’s age of digital big brother.
2 – Other Torrent Sites…
On days when The Pirate Bay is down, other torrent sites come to the rescue. Simply search “torrent” in any of the popular internet search engines. If you’re feeling especially froggy, you can leap on the opportunity to input a file name as well, such as “Photoshop torrent.” This will lead you to another torrent indexing site.
3 – Google Search…
In the event you really need a file and it’s not available as a torrent, you can still download directly from the web. The old pirate rules of warez and cracks still applies. Search for whatever digital file you’re looking for (music, movies, games, eBooks, software, etc), and input the word “warez” after it to locate underground pirate sites.
Newsgroups and forums tend to have scattered archive files (.rar, .zip, etc). You can also search through classified ad sites (such as Craigslist) for bootlegs, VCDs, etc. Many places overseas don’t respect US copyright laws, so you can order a lot through the mail. Be very careful where you go online though. The NSA (and other government agencies) are watching.
4 – Search Darknet and the Deep Web…
To avoid detection (or at least minimalize the possibilities), you must travel into the deep and dark corners of the internet.
Darknet (a Tor-based anonymized connection that once hosted the fabled Silk Road black market exchange) and Deep Web (behind the curtain of the modern internet) are great places to find someone shadowy to help you procure something questionable. Like all other shadowy places in life, be careful where you step.
5 – Shared Cloud Folders…
Where once we used cloud services to host, share, and stream files of all kind, the government has caught up to a lot of it, entering back doors into the modern infrastructure of the internet. You can still share files through cloud folders and VPNs, although it’s generally only recommended to do this when you know the other person.
In addition, for small files you can take a page from General Petraeus and his mistress by simply signing up for a shared email account, uploading attachments into emails, and saving them as drafts. Be sure not to type anything incriminating in the text, however, as this will get you flagged for monitoring.
Brian Penny is a former business analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower and freelance writer. He’s a frequent contributor to Mainstreet, Lifehack, and HardcoreDroid. He documents his experiences working with Anonymous, practicing yoga, and fighting the banks on his blog.