Why I Like Pirates

By Tom, age 6.

Once upon a time there was a Dark Lord called Lord Mandleson. His boss was a man called Mr Brown who’s got his own kingdom. Mr Brown had a terribly difficult year looking after his kingdom and so in August 2009 he went on holiday and left the Dark Lord in charge.

The people in the kingdom didn’t choose Lord Mandleson, so they didn’t really like him being in charge. This kingdom must have been really hard to rule, because after just a few days he also went on holiday, to an sunny island called Corfu to stay with his friends the Rothschild family and a man called Mr Geffen. The Rothschild were very, very rich and had a yacht and everything. Mr Geffen is a really important person in the music and movie business – he  even made Shrek!

Very soon after Lord Mandleson returns from his holiday, he announces that pirates on the internet are a really really big problem and that the government needs to make new laws really quickly to stop them from killing all our musicians. We were all scared.

These bad pirates were stealing all sorts of music and movies which made a lot of people very upset, but in particular the big important companies that look after musicians. Some clever people in France said that pirates would soon cost these companies €240 billion and 1.2 million jobs.

So the government made a new law called the Digital Economy Bill, which (amongst other things too complicated for me to understand) was meant to stop these bad pirates by making their internet slower and slower and eventually just stop. They thought that if the pirates couldn’t share music, they’d pop to the shops and buy a CD instead, just like a good person would. My daddy told me a story – when he was about my age, some big important people said the same things about “cassettes” and that they were constantly being told that “home taping is killing music”. I don’t really know what a cassette is, but he said he often used one to copy the radio before deciding which his fav bands were. Daddy has lots and lots of big black discs called records which play music when scratched by a needle. I’m asking Santa for one next Christmas.

So this law was rushed before the important men and women who run the kingdom – who all sit in a big room under a loud clock called Ben. There are 646 of these important people – 187 liked this Bill, 47 didn’t, the rest were probably on holiday. 20 of them talked for many, many hours and had lots of arguments, the other 174 must have been very naughty because they were busy being whipped. Lots of people wrote letters to the important men and women (20,000 – gosh), and a gazillion people on twitter all had a jolly good shout – all asking them to stop what they were doing and talk to some smart wizards who know lots about computers and things. But Mr Brown’s people were in a big rush and had no time for more talking. Maybe they didn’t really understand much about computers. Maybe they were just in a hurry to do the dishes because they kept talking about doing the washing-up.

At first I was really happy because all those musicians had been saved from the nasty pirates. But being small and curious (and a bit precocious), I wondered what the pirates were doing that was so nasty and evil. But all they were doing is sharing music with lots of people so they can also dance and sing along to their fav music. If I played guitar a bit better I’d want everyone in the world to hear it. These pirates don’t sound very nasty to me – I was always told that stealing is bad but sharing is good.

And then I wondered how you catch a pirate. Apparently, you can listen to them talking and catch them giving music away. They do lots of listening in far away places like China and Iran. I think Mr Brown wants to listen in to us as well. The trouble is that pirates are smart and it’s really easy for them to talk to each other without being heard. I have a best friend at school and we often write notes to each other in special secret code so that the teacher won’t understand what we’re talking about – it’s really fun and dead easy to do.

My daddy says that now that we’ve all got computers, he doesn’t bother buying records any more. He sometimes listens to music on the internet which is really clever and he sometimes plays me music that nobody has ever heard before. Some of it I like, but some sounds a bit like a strangled cat. I think he calls this “jazz” music.

The only people who don’t like pirates are the big important people who still make the records. But if people don’t want records any more, they might have to ask the pirates how they share music. Only really old people like my dad still use  records and the people that make them are even older – the Dark Lord Mandleson‘s friend is apparently over 200 years old!

The people in Mr Brown’s kingdom are going to choose a new leader soon. Not sure why, maybe they don’t like him or perhaps he’s too tired and grumpy. One of the people who wants his job is a very rich man with a big forehead who waves his arms around a lot. He’s also got some friends who really, really hates pirates and has promised to banish them from the face of the earth. Eurgh.

But there’s also a man called Mr Nick who thinks that big companies are bullies and that pirates aren’t so bad. Maybe they’ll become best of friends? I hope so, because I quite like pirates and I think I want to be one when I grow up. Either that or play guitar in a rock band and tour places like Corfu so that the whole world can listen to my music.

I’d wish I could choose who was going to run our kingdom, but they don’t think 6 year olds are important or clever enough.

I just hope there are enough clever people in the kingdom to do it for me.

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2 Responses to “Why I Like Pirates”

  1. Crosbie Fitch Says:

    Don’t forget that although pirates make and share their own copies, much to the annoyance of those merchants who still try to enforce the monopoly Queen Anne gave them in 1710, those pirates still like musicians and other artists.

    Pirates are of course very happy to pay musicians to make more music, to write new songs, and for writers to make up more stories and for actors to play them. Because even though the pirates can now make their own copies, they still love their culture and would see those who contribute new works to it prosper.

    Even Daniel Defoe who wrote Robinson Crusoe had good words to say about pirates: But would they but do it Justice, and print it True, according to the Copy, they are welcome to sell it for a Penny, if they please.

  2. Rob the Musician Says:

    Excellent essay Tom, and when I’m 6 I hope to be as clever as you too. I also hope you don’t mind but I’ve posted the url of your wonderful piece onto facebook and a few other sites where people like to do strange eyebrow-raising exercises (they do it a lot actually, coz I think they’ll go blind if their eyebrows fall over their eyes. Urgh scary stuff).

    I recently found a man who likes to look at Pirates a lot, and he says the ones who share don’t rape or steal from your hold any more (though some still do coz they like money). He also says the nice Prates who share for no money are actually the most likely to buy from the people they steal from – isn’t that just so cute? This man is a Doctor, so I guess we should trust him. He told me about this romantic love affair here

    When I read it something strange happened, and it made me feel really happy. I hope lots of other people can make me feel that way too. That would be nice.

    But I guess someone should make a movie of this exciting new Piracy coz it’s got all the things people like –
    1. false accusations from Profit-people who like to enslave and bind artists and actors;
    2. Government brutality bashing innocent, harmless people by cutting them off from the World and isolate them as if they were in a new jail (but they’re still actually in their own house with their own property but don’t have the services they pay for any more);
    3. the revolting Pirates then bake lots of Cake and breed cute kittens in protest to take and share pictures of those because (so far) the Government likes Cake and kittens (but only cute ones);
    4. everyone lived happily ever after, except the media industry, because no-one wants to listen to music or go to movies any more because they like Cake and cute kittens so much, yaaayyyyyyy.

    aged 4 and two-thirds