Because of the very nature of the nation-state system, pirate organizations are always considered illegal by at least one powerful state actor, but what distinguishes them from regular criminals is the legitimacy granted upon them by the broader civil society (think Wikileaks). Pirate organizations typically defend the principles of openness and freedom of circulation, and contribute to the creation of common goods (think freedom of the open seas, or uncensored radio broadcasting). From this perspective, piracy is not about getting everything for free, it’s about preserving un-monopolized distribution channels. The reasons why pirate radio stations turned to the private sector to take down the BBC’s monopoly – a battle they won in 1967 – are in many respects similar to the reasons why ‘netizens’ are now turning to private companies such as MEGA, founded by Hollywood’s most dreaded pirate Kim Dotcom.
In 2014, to understand where capitalism is heading, follow the pirates. And examine their business model with the rigor of a corporate banker prepping a pitch for an IPO roadshow – because pirates will shake the world’s economy in the years to come. So everybody gear up for some pirate analysis.