When most people think of piracy, they think of Bittorrent and The Pirate Bay. These public manifestations of piracy, though, conceal an elite worldwide, underground, organized network of pirate groups who specialize in obtaining media before their official sale date and then racing against one another to release the material for free.
Warez: The Infrastructure and Aesthetics of Piracy is the first scholarly research book about this underground subculture, which began life in the pre-internet era Bulletin Board Systems, moved to internet File Transfer Protocol servers (‘topsites’) in the mid- to late-1990s. The ‘Scene’, as it is known, is highly illegal in almost every aspect of its operation. The term ‘warez’ itself refers to pirated media, a derivative of ‘software’. The Scene is an underground culture with its own norms and rules of participation, its own forms of sociality, and its own artistic outputs. This book describes what is known about this underground culture, its operations, and its infrastructures.