Ready my ship, Captain!

It didn't stop you, though.  Did it?  You thieving bastard.

It didn't stop you, though. Did it? You thieving bastard.

The Internet is rife with piracy and it’s not going to change.  The RIAA, the PRS and all the Internet policing just don’t have enough pull to rid the Internet of torrents, p2p, Newsgroups, Limewire and all the millions of MSN file transfers that must happen daily.  We live in a society where music is in abundance and even the most obscure works can be found with by a persistent Googler with even basic knowledge of where to find what on the Internet.

In saying this, the aquisition of music through markets such as, beatport, iTunes and Amazon is far simpler than trudging through twenty pages of Rapidsearch.  In less than 20 seconds I can open iTunes, find the track I’ve been humming all day, buy it and have it sent to my computer at blazing speed through my ultra-fast broadband connection.  All this for 70p?  Excellent!  The quality is good, the tracks are properly labeled and organised to keep even the most anal of music hoarders happy and the layout of the iTunes store is so wonderfully presented that it almost makes searching for new music effortless, even fun.

This isn’t to say that the pirate community doesn’t take care of it’s own.  There are, to my mind, several hundred private torrent trackers, sites and seed servers who take pride in the content they present to their userbase.  Torrent sites such as have very strict rules with it comes to uploading and presenting content for the community.

When creating torrents, I’ll always make sure that the auality is at the very least 192 CBR mp3 at 44,100 khz and in true stereo.  If it’s an ultra special release or something I hold very dearly, I’ll almost always sacrifice my upload bandwidth and distribute the FLAC release.  The album art is always contained, the MP3 tags are always complete and there’s no playlist information.  Ever.  M3u files are the work of satan, as I’m sure every iTunes user will agree.

The pirate community should be making these standards necessary across the board, not just on a few private trackers.  There are written and globally understood rules and regulations on good behaviour and practice for p2p participants and torrent downloaders.  Seed what you reap was the motto I was told right from the very beginning.  “As long as your download ratio is 1:1, you’re alright” said the wise man who first introduced me to the world of piracy, and I’ve applied this practice into every aspect of my online activities.

So if I’m so careful when I’m distributing content, why can’t everyone else take the same level of care?  Surely we want to be showing corporations that the quality of our free content is on par with or better than the music they release, not making laughable rips of excellent music.  Just because it’s free doesn’t mean it needs to be sub-standard in every aspect.  Cheap and cheerful isn’t what we’re looking for here, and if you’ve already gone through the hassle of making and uploading your torrent to a tracker, you might as well make the extra effort to make sure it’s a torrent you can be proud of.  This will grow the community and force record companies and music corporate enteties to re-write their copyright standards.


  1. Encode your music properly – anything over 160 CBR is always welcome.
  2. Sort your ID3 tags.  It’s a pain in the arse having to go through every track in a discography download and fix everything yourself.
  3. M3u files – Don’t include them.  We’ll make them ourselves in Winamp later should we need them.
  4. Don’t password protect your RAR files.  It’s just stupid.
  5. Include album art.  It’s like the cherry on top.
  6. Use a respectable tracker.  There are plenty of them around and it means that people like me don’t have to trawl for an hour’s worth of Google to find that Autechre EP released in 1992 where only 250 of them were ever made.
  7. Seed your own torrents for at least a week after the first upload – it’s the done thing and it means that more and more will be encouraged to seed.

Oh, and for those of you who would like it confirmed, yes – I download illegally.

    • Hyphen
    • September 27th, 2009


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