Warez: The Infrastructure and Aesthetics of Piracy

The Infrastructure and Aesthetics of Piracy

Paperback, 444 pages

Published Dec. 15, 2021 by Punctum Books.


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2 stars (1 review)

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 – music, videos, games, and software – 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 and 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 operations. The term “Warez” itself refers to pirated media, a derivative of “software.” Taking a deep dive in the documentary evidence produced by the Scene itself, Warez describes the operations and infrastructures an underground culture …

1 edition

Review of 'Warez: The Infrastructure and Aesthetics of Piracy' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I was hopeful for a fun history on the foundation, infrastructure and aesthetics of the "Warez Scene". While the book does touch on these topics, it struggles from an identity crisis the entire time that drags down the quality of the work. Rather than a strong narrative, the author decided to apply the template of academic paper which I imagine is their comfort zone. While books with the structure of an academic paper can have great information, they're rarely enjoyable to read and provide no meaningful narrative. In this case, the entirety of the book is without personality, having no interviews and only catering a core argument that just underwhelms ("Warez Scene as an ARG"). The tangents don't feel related, adding bulk to a book that really didn't need it. They only seem included to show the virtue of the author rather than a useful challenge to any systemic issues …