Piracy as White Privilege

alexandra-samuelAlexandra Samuel asks the burning question of the day, Is Media Piracy a Form of White Privilege?

After several paragraphs of word salad, we get a surprisingly concrete answer:

The available data on race and “copy culture”—the preferred term among those who regard content sharing as legitimate, rather than criminal—further undermines the theory that torrenting is yet another form of white privilege. A 2012 analysis from Columbia’s American Assembly found that black and white Americans had broadly similar attitudes towards music piracy, while Hispanics were somewhat more tolerant. And while Al-Raffee and Cronan found that “older subjects have a lower (less favorable) attitude towards digital piracy than younger subjects”, the American Assembly study found that downloading is more common among blacks and Hispanics over 30 than it is among over-30 whites. (There were no significant differences in downloading behavior among whites, blacks and Hispanics aged 18 to 29.)

But it’s clear she would have been happier with a finding of structural racism:

But the more complicated truth is that even if our offline characteristics are (sometimes) invisible online, they still shape the way we experience the internet’s joys, risks, and conflicts. It’s less frightening to express yourself online when you aren’t worried that your tweet or photo or blog post might invite a racist or misogynistic backlash. It’s easier to snap up that eBay deal or Kickstarter offer when you’re already affluent. It’s less daunting to engage in online activities that carry some risk—whether that’s torrenting or online activism—if your offline identity allows you to assume that the justice system is basically on your side.

Asking how our offline identities enable or preclude different kinds of online experiences is an essential part of being a responsible online citizen. Sometimes those inquiries may reveal remarkable commonalities, as with the discovery that torrenting is equally common among young people of different ethnicities. But just as often, and more crucially, simply asking the question will open our eyes and our minds to the online impact of our offline privilege. The more carefully we consider and address the ways that our offline identities affect our online lives, the better the chance of creating an online world in which we transcend rather than replicate offline inequities.

Amusing, as I have pointed out on a few occasions, it is the Apple-buying, latte-sipping liberal yuppie crowd that has a moralistic, quasi-Hajnal aversion to software piracy and is ghey enough to subscribe to Netflix from Russia of all places. They consider piracy is stealing and therefore “sovok,” “Asiatic”, “they don’t do that over there”; while being a loyal paypig to giant foreign corporations is the “Western”, “European”, “civilized” thing to do. Whereas in reality all the actually cool kids in the West that they worship are torrenting the fuck out of the Internet.

Consequently, if piracy really was white privilege, then Russian liberals would be niggers.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Consequently, if piracy really was white privilege, then Russian liberals would be niggers.

    I guess we now know who to send the next time the churki get uppity.

  2. Thulean Friend says

    I’m trying to decode if AK hates Latvians or Russian liberals more.

  3. AK tries to shoot many birds which looks like random shooting in 360° FOV. Probably because he is trying the squaring of circle. The problem is as follows: How to be like Sovok and Asiatic when it comes to stealing content from large corporations and at the same time how to be like law obeying WASP with Protestant ethic who does not steal from employer, does not take bribes, shows up on time not like Asiatics and who washes his hand after using toilet.

  4. Why would anyone analyse this on the basis of race and not wealth?
    Latte drinking Apple buyers just have more money than they need. As does anyone who gives their credit card number to I Tunes so they can buy stuff in real time.

  5. The journothot looks like she has foetal alcohol syndrome

  6. Ali Choudhury says

    Personally I pay for everything I watch\read etc. since used copies are dirt-cheap and I don’t have the time or patience to arse about with torrents.

  7. To misquote Chiang Kai-shek: Latvians are a disease of the skin; liberals are a disease of the heart.

  8. Used torrents until a corp noticed me.

  9. German_reader says

    You should at least try that Library Genesis site Karlin linked to some months ago, it’s very useful for pirating books.

  10. I only pay for superior products. Rest of the rubbish- I steal.

  11. VPNs

  12. Wasn’t really familiar with them at that time.

  13. Using that word is a mistake.

  14. Consequently, if piracy really was white privilege, then Russian liberals would be niggers.

    I laughed out loud. It also fits because Niggers tend to adopt cargo cults as well.

  15. Wow. I all set to completely agree with the girl just by looking at the photo. But after reading the article, I have to concede Karlin has a point.

    They have been tightening up the internet lately, tweaking search engines and such. You used to be able to download YouTube videos. Now it is getting more difficult.

    There was a book written called Little Big Man. It chronicled the closing of America’s Western Frontier. That is sort of what is happening now. The rowdy pirates and code cowboys are giving way to corporate interests.

    Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.


  16. Do Latvians have other claims to the progress of Humanity than lending their ‘riflemen’ to the Bolsheviks to kill Russians for the victory of the ‘Revolution’? Maybe that they filled the ranks of the Cheka, NKVD, GPU.
    The ‘Baltic’ nobility, which achieved great political influence in the Russian Imperial court and in various wakes of Russian life, were by all accounts Germans and fiercely loyal to the Tsar and ‘Mother Russia’ (Paul Georg Edler von Rennenkampff comes to mind; as the ‘Mad Baron’ Roman-Nikolai-Maksimilian Fyodorovich (von) Ungern-Sternberg).

  17. Mitchell Porter says

    I thought this was going to be about real piracy, e.g. where the Eurocentric world order came from.

  18. It’s going to be end of mine day, but before ending I am reading this enormous post to improve my know-how.