Pirates on the Digital Waves


Intellectual property is a big issue in the information age: content is a commodity, 'data lords' lease access to warehouses of digital information, and armies of lawyers police new copyright laws. In response, Kingdom of Piracy (premiering this month at Ars Electronica) has defiantly erected its flag on a virtual realm of interconnected 'properties' and invites hackers and artists to 'plug into the supply lines of digital abundance.' The web site creates a map of participating links in shark-infested, copyrighted waters. Ironically, the pilot of this project ran into trouble earlier this year when its original sponsor demanded editorial rights and a name change. Naturally, the project curators rejected this, and the Kingdom of Piracy lives on. - Helen Varley Jamieson