In the decade and a half since Napster first emerged, forever changing the face of digital culture, the claim that “internet pirates killed the music industry” has become so ubiquitous that it is treated as common knowledge. Piracy is a scourge on legitimate businesses and hard-working artists, we are told, a “cybercrime” similar to identity fraud or even terrorism.
In The Piracy Crusade, Aram Sinnreich critiques the notion of “piracy” as a myth perpetuated by today’s cultural cartels—the handful of companies that dominate the film, software, and especially music industries. As digital networks have permeated our social environment, they have offered vast numbers of people the opportunity to experiment with innovative cultural and entrepreneurial ideas predicated on the belief that information should be shared widely. This has left the media cartels, whose power has historically resided in their ability to restrict the flow of cultural information, with difficult choices: adapt to this new environment, fight the changes tooth and nail, or accept obsolescence. Their decision to fight has resulted in ever stronger copyright laws and the aggressive pursuit of accused infringers.
Yet the most dangerous legacy of this “piracy crusade” is not the damage inflicted on promising start-ups or on well-intentioned civilians caught in the crosshairs of file-sharing litigation. Far more troubling, Sinnreich argues, are the broader implications of copyright laws and global treaties that sacrifice free speech and privacy in the name of combating the phantom of piracy—policies that threaten to undermine the foundations of democratic society.
Where to Get The Piracy Crusade
- Read the full first draft for free at MediaCommons Press
- Buy the paperback from University of Massachusetts Press
- Buy the eBook at Kobo.com
- Buy the paperback at Indiebound
- Buy the eBook at Apple's iBooks store
- Buy the paperback at Amazon.com
- Buy the eBook on Kindle
- Buy the eBook on Barnes & Noble's Nook
"This is a book that needed to be written and Sinnreich is the perfect author for it. There are critiques and histories of piracy, and there is at least one state of the music industry book, but this book makes a very different case by critically interrogating the rhetoric and effects of both piracy and anti-piracy efforts."—Nancy Baym, author of Personal Connections in the Digital Age
"Sinnreich provides a sophisticated economic and political analysis of the evolution of the anti-piracy agenda, identifies major stakeholders, and does so with brisk and reader-friendly prose."—Patricia Aufderheide, coauthor of Reclaiming Fair Use: How to Put Balance Back in Copyright
"A fascinating takedown of the corporate anti-music-piracy movement, packed with history, interviews, and great pop-cultural references, from REAL pirates (the swashbuckling kind) to Harry Smith to 'The Pink Panther Returns' to Amanda Palmer. My favorite phrase is 'cyborgian sexual innuendos.'"—Steve Knopper, author of Appetite for Self-Destruction: The Spectacular Crash of the Record Business in the Digital Age, and Rolling Stone contributing editor
- Like The Piracy Crusade on Facebook
- Follow #piracycrusade on Twitter
- Follow @aram on Twitter
- Read work by Aram Sinnreich on Academia.edu
Presentations, Interviews and Events
Sinnreich speaks about The Piracy Crusade and related issues frequently. Some examples include:
- New York University (video)
- INET New York (video)
- Rutgers University (video)
- APAP World Music Conference (video)
- Google Big Tent Event Moscow (video)
- The New School (video)
- Sounding Out! Podcast (audio)
- Interview on NewsTalk radio (audio)
- Interview in Critical Margins (text)
- The Piracy Crusade on Prezi (presentation)
About the Author
Dr. Aram Sinnreich is an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information, in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies. Sinnreich’s work focuses on the intersection of culture, law and technology, with an emphasis on subjects such as emerging media and music. He is the author of two books, Mashed Up (2010), and The Piracy Crusade (2013), and has written for publications including the New York Times, Billboard and Wired. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Sinnreich served as Director at media innovation lab OMD Ignition Factory, Managing Partner of media/tech consultancy Radar Research, Visiting Professor at NYU Steinhardt, and Senior Analyst at Jupiter Research. He is also a bassist and composer, and has played with groups and artists including NYC soul band Brave New Girl, LA dub-and-bass collective Dubistry, and Ari-Up, lead singer of the Slits. Sinnreich holds a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Southern California, and a master's in Journalism from Columbia University.