Besides the whole Blackbeard-Johnny Depp-Somali pirates idea, piracy can also refer to illegal use, production or distribution of copyright-protected material, such as music, books or films, without the permission of the copyright-holder and the accompanying royalties. This meaning is actually surprisingly old, dating back to at least the seventeenth century. The dual meaning of piracy probably derives from the fact that sea pirates would sell their stolen goods, and people who sold books they didn't own the rights to were perceived to be profiting in a similarly dishonest manner. Copyright piracy is also often referred to as "bootlegging" which was originally a term for the unlicensed liquor trade. Copyright piracy is often called "theft", but from a legal point of view, that is unarguably inaccurate. From a moral point of view, it is theft only if it displaces purchases that would have been made otherwise.
Advances in consumer technology during recent decades have made copyright piracy increasingly easy, starting with home transfers on formats such as cassette and VHS, and becoming simpler still with digital formats. The Internet has broadened pirating opportunities immeasurably, allowing users to upload and download files with relative anonymity. Traditionally the distribution of content required people to set up servers from which users could upload and download content, Hotline being an example of this. Later protocols, such as BitTorrent, are distributed and more difficult to trace as the content is distributed through a web of interconnected users. The only truly static part of the Bit Torrent network would be the server acting as a directory of the available content - known as a Tracker. The Pirate Bay tracker is one of the more well known sites, and has attracted controversy while being protected by Sweden's copyright laws. Authorities and copyright-holders are still attempting to crack down on this, but it remains up to this day.
- Recording Industry Association of America They seem to really dislike piracy
- Motion Picture Association of America They too dislike piracy
- The Pirate Bay They don't share the sentiments of the above