Warez: The Infrastructure and Aesthetics of Piracy — New Book Alert #warez

I was a pre-teen with an Apple //e back in 1983, and I have distinct memories of BBS and floppy disk “warez” intro screens and their forbidden, underground look. It was all cloaked in mystery and ethical wrong-doing, but it was undeniably cool-looking. As an outsider looking in, I occasionally wondered, “who the heck are these gangs who crack games and create super rad ASCII-art logos to brag about it?”.

This new book by Martin Paul Eve, Warez: The Infrastructure and Aesthetics of Piracy, is a scholarly work that attempts to answer these questions, and more. Covering the “Scene” of warez crackers and traders that began in the ’80s on BBS bulletin boards and moved to FTP sites in the ’90s, Eve digs into the details:

Warez describes the operations and infrastructures an underground culture with its own norms and rules of participation, its own forms of sociality, and its own artistic forms. Even though forms of digital piracy are often framed within ideological terms of equal access to knowledge and culture, Eve uncovers in the Warez Scene a culture of competitive ranking and one-upmanship that is at odds with the often communalist interpretations of piracy.”

 

Available from punctum books in paperbound print edition, or as a free .pdf ebook.


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