They just don't make pirates like they used to.
Swashbuckling sea lords used to sail the seven seas, striking fear into all whose paths they crossed.
Today, a pirate is a either a Somali fisherman throwing himself at the sides of oil tankers captained by Tom Hank’s neck skin or a Uni student sitting in a pleather desk chair downloading the latest series of 'Game of Thrones'.
Scarily the most successful pirate on the planet today goes by the name of 'Captain Feathersword'. Not something fearsome like Black Beard, or Crow the Cutlass or Davey Dead Eyes. Just simply - Feathersword. A homage to an outdated cleaning apparatus, a captain feared by dust particles the world over.
Captain Feathersword has long been known as the unofficial fifth member of the children’s entertainment phenomenon The Wiggles. The Wiggles are estimated to be worth $50m per year. If we assume Feathersword is getting only 2.5% of this income, he is easily the most successful pirate since Henry Every, the King of Pirates who rode the waves during the Golden Age of Piracy in the late 1600’s.
But if the latest news reports are to be believed, someone very close to me, let’s call him Ryan, is about to join their ranks. Ryan the Streamer, as he prefers to be now known, downloaded Dallas Buyers Club a film about the dangers of using HIV Aids as a diet. The film then went on to win an Oscar and someway make amends for Jared Leto’s band 30 Seconds to Mars.
Now, the studio that made the film is set pursue those , who like Ryan, downloaded and shared the movie illegally via the BitTorrent platform. They will be pursuing the issue through the Australian Federal Court. If successful, people such as Ryan could be eligible for fines of up to $5,000.
After a few flatties at our local (cafe) Ryan confided in me that he is concerned that he won’t be able to pay the fine (due to impending air conditioner installation) and would therefore be facing jail time. His real fear was that if he went to jail, he would be a target for other prisoners as his weak back story of doing time for illegal downloading, would see him smashed like avocado on gluten-free toast.
His just hopes that some sort of Erin Brockovich character will emerge to take on his cause as part of a class action against the studios and ISP’s. That the rights for the story could then be sold and spawn a critically acclaimed film which some kid in Canada will download a copy of.
For that is the pirate way.