(edited by) Martin Fredriksson, James Arvanitakis – Piracy: Leakages from Modernity

(edited by) Martin Fredriksson, James Arvanitakis Piracy- Leakages from Modernity.

Litwin Books, ISBN: 978-1936117598, English, 370 pages, 2014, USA

The term “piracy” inevitably conjures up ambivalent feelings. It also reflects changes, conflicts and contradictions in contemporary society. This anthology of texts finally breaks the classic “cops and robbers” debate loop, which considers piracy either as a disaster or as an opportunity, gathering a number of original approaches. Here piracy is considered from several different cultural perspectives, dealing with structures of power and transformation as well as looking at everyday practices. The editors state: “for every new development in capitalist technologies, some sort of piracy moment emerges”. For example the social implications of BitTorrent are even more important than its economic ones and its “constellation” (as the authors define it) creates “leakages.” The definition of leakages is one the most intriguing (and core) concepts explored here. They are materialised in various practices, and the supporters of Pirate Bay (which is discussed in several essays), for example, are acknowledged to consider file-sharing as a defence of the commons against scarcity and enclosure. File-sharers are also analysed and a suggestive parallel is drawn between their norms and the very same copyright ideology discussed elsewhere. But the book also investigates other fields like bio-piracy, as well as recognising the high quality of technical innovation introduced by “pirates.” This work has also been the starting point for a research network, connected through a public web platform (PiracyLab) where the research is updated and further discussed.