The ‘Pirate Philosophy’ issue of the journal Culture Machine (http://www.culturemachine.net) explored how the development of various forms of so-called internet piracy is affecting ideas of the author, the book, the scholarly journal, peer review, intellectual property, copyright law, content creation and cultural production that were established pre-internet. To this end it contained a number of contributions that engaged with the philosophy of internet piracy, as well as the emergence out of peer-to-peer file sharing networks of actual social movements - even a number of political ‘Pirate Parties’. But together with texts that addressed the theme of piracy in their content, the ‘Pirate Philosophy’ edition of Culture Machine also included a number of contributions which engaged critically with the philosophy of piracy by experimenting with the creation of what might be interpreted as actual ‘pirate’ texts.
To encourage still further experimentation of this kind, Gary Hall’s 12,000 word article ‘Pirate Philosophy Version 1.0: Open Access, Open Editing, Free Content, Free/Libre/Open Media’, which initially formed the opening essay to this 10th anniversary issue on ‘Pirate Philosophy’, was available in Culture Machine for a limited period only. After a few months it was placed on a ‘pirate’ peer-to-peer network here [...], and the original deleted from the Culture Machine site. The idea Hall has committed himself to is that as soon as someone downloads this peer-to-peer version, he will destroy my original file. There will then no longer be an ‘original’ or ‘master’ copy of this text in the conventional sense. Instead, it will exist only to the extent that it is part of a ‘pirate network’ and is stolen or ‘pirated’. From that time on, all copies of ‘Pirate Philosophy Version 1.0: Open Access, Open Editing, Free Content, Free/Libre/Open Media’ will be ‘pirate’ copies.
The aim is to raise questions around issues of authorship, the proper name, the signature, attribution, publication, citation, accreditation, fair use, copyright, intellectual property and content creation. For example, what if Hall proceeded to publish a ‘pirated’ copy of this text? In other words, what if Hall placed the first version of his opening essay to Culture Machine’s ‘Pirate Philosophy’ issue on a peer-to-peer network, making it available for anyone not only to read, download, copy and share without charge, but also to remix, reformat, reversion, reinvent and reuse as ‘Pirate Philosophy Version 2.0: Open Access, Open Editing, Free Content, Free/Libre/Open Media’, say? What if Hall then destroyed the original version of my text, so that the only version he could subsequently publish is a pirated version that had been authored and edited distributively? And what if Hall then published that pirated version in an academic journal as ‘Pirate Philosophy Version 3.0’? How would that affect our ideas of the academic author? Of scholarly writing and publishing? Of attribution? Accreditation? Intellectual Property? Content Creation?