Pirates Chat Room

Adam L. Penenberg
Forbes.com, 07.11.97

WITH HUNDREDS OF CHANNELS ORGANIZED BY topic, IRC, or Internet Relay Chat, is the place to be, whether your interests lie in fly-fishing, collecting antiques or music and software piracy. All you need to do is download your favorite IRC client software, which will enable you to wade through the chat. Here’s a sample from a recent online exchange. (Names, numbers and site addresses have been changed.)

The channel topic was titled #mpeg3:

<RoadKill> lp:mp3 inertia.mit.edu/ -check #MP3FILES

<Kafka> is looking for Biz Markie, Beastie Boys (Pass the Mic), and LL (Mama Said Knock You Out). If you have these please message me…ratio 14:1.

<TiGhtRoPe> <–Looking for rare…but GOOD NIN songs…bootlegs and such (no live), msg or dcc me!

Translation: RoadKill is this person’s online name. ‘lp’ stands for login and password. In this case, it’s ‘MP3′. RoadKill is advertising 3 different music sites. inertia.mit.edu indicates that the site is within MIT’s domain–possibly run by a student who’s operating it without the school’s knowledge. It turned out the site limits access to seven users at a time; that way, it’s easier to escape attention, plus it keeps download times brisk.

Kafka is trawling for a number of MP3-encoded singles. Ratio 14:1 means that he’ll let you download 14 singles in exchange for one of yours.

TiGhtRoPe is looking for Nine Inch Nails bootlegs. Msg stands for message. Dcc is a way to send a file through IRC instead of, say, via FTP.

Bots’ is short for robots, netspeak for a software program that automatically participates on IRC. In this case, pirates are using bots to advertise music and software on IRC.

<boyzDCC> #8 13x [3.6M] Wall Flowers – The Difference

<toaST-DCC12> #10 3x [3.2M] Weird Al – Phony Calls

<toaST-DCC12> #11 13x [3.8M] Spice Girls – Say You’ll Be There

<MGP-DCC12> ^- Check out my web Page
Watch out For Huge Improvements!

Translation: <boyzDCC> #8 13x [3.6M] Wall Flowers – The Difference.

boyz is the name of the bot. #8 indicates that this is the eighth package boyz has offered this day, which means there are eight songs available for download. 13x implies that 13 separate downloads have already occurred. 3.6M tells you you’ll need 3.6 megabytes of disc space. Wall Flowers – The Difference is the song.

Wall Flowers – The Difference is the song. MGP is advertising his web site, where he posts dozens of songs and pirated software. From this site, it’s easy to download the latest cracked versions of software.
The pirate community is highly organized and hierarchical and divided into two major groups: releasers, who are dedicated to locating, cracking and releasing software, and couriers, who are in charge of distributing it, via any number of sites, to the masses. To illustrate how tightly woven the software and music piracy markets are, from MGP’s site, located in the Czech Republic, the Forbes Digital tech staff downloaded EASY MP3, V2.0B4, by Plas Development in the Netherlands.

Translation: EASY MP3, V2.0B4 is a software that converts WAV, which is a sound stream found in Windows 95, to MP3 format. V stands for version, the 4 means it’s the fourth incarnation, and B means it’s in beta testing.

Within the software were three imprimaturs: one from the release group Core, another by the courier group Motive8, and the last belonging to Quadcon, the web site masters.

_.,-*~’`^`’~*THE CRACK PRODUCERS OF CORE PRESENT*~’`^`’~*-,._
3 Easy MP3 v2.0b4 *REGGED* 3
3 3 3
3 Cracked…….: KiLLA 3 Release-Name..:. CR-EM2b4.ZIP 3
3 Supplied……: / 3 Release-Date..: 07/05/1997 3
3 Packaged……: tERMi 3 Release-Type..: Util 3
3 Protection….: Time/uses 3 OS…………: Win95/NT 3
3 Crack/SN……: included 3 Language……: English 3
3 Rating……..: [You decide!] 3 Disks………: 01 3
3 3 3
3 3
3 Install…….: Install and register with: KiLLa [c0re’97] 3
3 41472340 ¿
3 3
Translation: This piece of software was cracked by KiLLA and put together by tERMi. Regged means it’s registered, and KiLLA has graciously provided a name and registration number.

3 News: 3
3 3
3 Ú Welcome Camelot (Netherlands) and Emporium (United Kingdom) as new 3
3 Headquarters. Please notice, that there are still open positions! 3
3 Ú At the moment CORE is doing well – so if u want to join the force 3
3 feel free to contact the leader if ur able to do something good to CORE. 3
3 Ú We don’t need any currys – so please stay away and don’t ask! Good 3
3 Crackers and SiteOps are always welcome in our small family [..] 3
3 3

Translation: CORE operates without borders, so it’s much harder to track. Currys are courier groups, and not needed at the moment, although CORE welcomes anyone with the ability to crack software or keep a site running.

Copyright 1997 Adam L. Penenberg (penenberg.com)