This BBC story about a major music bootlegging bust in Scotland makes a big play out of Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page’s nominal role in bringing the pirate to justice, but I was more struck by the almost wistful way the article concludes, as it describes how the piracy game just ain’t what it used to be:
Bootlegging is a specialist area of music piracy, where performers’ live performances are recorded without the permission of the artist or label and are sold on the black market.
Once the main area of music piracy, bootlegging has all been wiped out with the trade now dominated by organised criminal gangs who mass-produce replicas of genuine recordings or illegal compilations.
The BPI welcomed the sentence.
Its piracy manager David Wood said Langley was a “notorious” music pirate who was the last of about 10 major players who had previously dominated the bootleg scene.
“Serious organised criminals now control the distribution of fake CDs, DVDs, games and software, and internet piracy has engendered a culture of mass online copyright theft,” he said.
They almost make it sound kind of charming, don’t they? A homespun small business network of folksy bootleggers instead of today’s bload-oath/Yakuza-style gangs of sallow Internet nerds with names like “The Ultimate Destructors Of Power” or whatever. People can get nostalgic for anything.