Piracy Guide

Last updated: 2018

Just a PSA to the boomers that in the Current Year there is no need to pay for almost anything (unless you want to support some individual content maker, which is perfectly reasonable).

Don’t give Hollywood/publishers your hard-earned money – use it to go on holiday, spend it on hookers and blow, give it to me, etc. instead.



Use Library Genesishttp://gen.lib.rus.ec/ [unblocked version] (see also ZLibrary)

Emil Kirkegaard has written up a short guide for this: How to download ebooks from Library Genesis (libgen) for free

Coverage isn’t as good as with Sci-Hub, but it’s still pretty impressive. I find approximately 90% of the books I want there.

Cases in which you can avoid using Libgen:

  1. You respect the author and want him/her to get money for their work. Even so, you can still download the book from Libgen to avoid the restrictive DRM practiced by most booksellers, inc. Amazon, while buying a symbolic copy from the store.
  2. You want a high quality paper version. My physical library hit its minimum size around 2015. Since then, it’s actually been slowly growing, but almost entirely by dint of high quality books, usually hardbacks. Uppening the scale even further, antiquarian books not only look very good on your bookshelf, but are as legitimate an investment as, say, Swiss luxury watches or art pieces.
  3. When said book isn’t available on Libgen. This is the case for some very obscure books, as well as books that came out very recently, or very long ago.

Many books will be in epub/mobi format. There are many ebook readers for Android that you can use to read them. I use Moon Reader. It has exportable highlighting/notes, and I find its visual options even better than the Amazon Kindle’s. I suggest getting the pro version for a few bucks to get rid of the annoying ads.

The only major format it doesn’t support is djvu, which is popular in Russia. EBookDroid handles that.

I would also recommend Calibre for managing your ebook collection. There are plugins for stripping DRM off your existing, store-bought ebooks (DeDRM).

Otherwise, there are many excellent book collections on the Internet, such as Gutenberg, Unz Review, and Lib.ru for Russians. There is a list of more specific free e-book collections here.


Scientific Papers

Use Sci-Hub. Lists of currently accessible domains are available at https://sci-hub.41610.org/, browse through them until you find one that works.

Emil Kirkegaard has a short for dummies guide: How to use Sci-hub to get academic papers for free

Considering the greed and rapacity of academic publishers, stealing papers isn’t just a moral right but a moral imperative. In my experience, it works 99%+ of the time. Literally the only paper I can recall not finding there – and I have downloaded well more than a thousand – is an obscure 1981 paper on Racial Variations in Vision (apparently, Aborigines have much better eyesight than other races). But somebody added it to Sci-Hub eventually, anyway.



Install the Bypass Paywalls extension for Chrome/Mozilla.



My favorite torrent client is qBittorrent.

While Western countries don’t really care if you pirate papers and books, Hollywood and MPAA have an order of magnitude more lobbying power than Elsevier or Penguin, so this is most definitely not the case with movies.

I strongly recommend getting a paid VPN if you live in the West. I use NordVPN.



Can also often by downloaded on torrent. There’s even a way to get the completely “legitimate” version of some by buying a product key from a Bonanza or ValidProductKey criminal. System administrators get access to many licenses, and sell them on via these sites for profit. Illegal (probably) on their part, but not on yours. No you can know that they are being sold “illegitimately.”



Free version of JDownloader will satisfy 95+ of video downloading needs.

youtube-dl is a more versatile program that you can run from the Command Line to access videos for which you need an account, e.g. restricted videos on YouTube.

Cookies text files for any website can be downloaded via this plugin.


Video Games

Market near-monopolist Steam/Valve offers low prices for the amount of content – very low in places like Eastern Europe. Probably not so much out of the goodness of GabeN’s heart as the existence of companies like Humble Bundle which will step in were Steam to get out of line.

The technological specifics of modern video games also limits piracy in that most of them are now dependent on constant updates and patches.



The one thing I do recommend shilling money out for is a VPN. The Wild West days of the Internet are coming to a close, and regulatory agencies around the world are rushing to block “extremist” content and set up national firewalls. This is going to get worse before it gets better, so you might as well get a head start on this.

I use NordVPN, you can pay for it in crypto.