Ahoy mateys! Monday September 19, 2016 is international Talk Like a Pirate Day! Pirates have fascinated people for centuries. They are notorious bad boys who don’t follow the laws of anyone. They are sensationalized in books and on film however, real life pirates are not to be idolized or messed with. While pirates are classically known to be sea captains, there is a new sea to be plundered and that is of technology. Lets take a look at the different types of pirates, shall we?

Fictional Pirates

  • Captain James Hook: Peter Pan’s enemy who sails the seas surrounding Neverland. One of his hands is a hook where Peter Pan cut the hand off during a fight. A crocodile then ate the hand and now follows Captain Hook around to get more of a taste.
  • Captain Jack Sparrow: Portrayed by Johnny Depp in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, he is a “captain of equally dubious morality and sobriety, a master of self-promotion and self-interest, Jack fought a constant and losing battle with his own best tendencies. Jack’s first love was the sea, his second, his beloved ship the Black Pearl.”
  • The Dread Pirate Roberts: The infamous pirate who captured the ship Westley was on and then turned the pirating job, along with the name Dread Pirate Roberts, over to Westley.

Real Life Pirates

  • Hayreddin Barbarossa (Red Beard): Appointed by Suleiman the Magnificent, Hayreddin Barbarossa was a 16th century Ottoman Naval admiral who established the Ottoman Empire as the controllers of the Mediterranean waters. He helped establish an alliance between the Ottoman Empire and France and tirelessly fought of Spanish and Portuguese ships.
  • William Kidd: Perhaps the most popularized pirate in pop culture. Captain Kidd was a 17th century privateer who supposedly turned pirate. He was tried and found guilty of piracy by the English courts and was hanged. It is believed that he had buried treasure and people are still searching for it to this day. My undergraduate advisor is well versed in maritime piracy and wrote this paper exploring more into William Kidd’s story.
  • Madame Cheng: A 19th century prostitute who when married partnered with her husband to expand his piracy business. When he passed away Madame Cheng continued the business, increasing its size to around 1800 ships (larger than most navies) and ruled the South China Sea and expanded the business inland. She only surrendered when China granted her amnesty in exchange for peace and only a few of her men were tried as pirates, the rest were allowed to join the Chinese Navy.

New Age Piracy

  • Media Streaming: A lot of people participate in media piracy, sometimes without even realizing it. Movies are pirated either by someone recording the movie while at the theater or obtaining the movie (such as hacking into the production companies system and copying the movie files) and then distributing it. Computers have made it easier and easier to pirate not only movies but also music. Back in the early 2000’s peer-to-peer sites like Napster allowed users to upload their CDs to the site and then download other people’s music. Now, there is stream ripping which allows you to turn streamed music from apps like Pandora and Spotify to permanent downloads. The act of media piracy can lead to 5 years in federal prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
  • Cyber Hacking: Groups like Anonymous, Hackers Special Elite and other Advanced Persistent Threat groups hack into government and private business websites and cause obstruction. They shut down agency websites and networks, plant viruses and steal personal information, money and identities.
  • Underground Trading: The DarkWeb is where the Mafia, Cartel and others go to trade guns, drugs, people and other illicit goods. The most famous one, The Silk Road was operated by Ross Ulbricht who just so happened to call himself the Dread Pirate Roberts.

If after all this you still believe pirates are awesome, and would like to become one, maybe Cressida Cresswell’s second novel in the How to Train Your Dragon series How to be a Pirate, might be of help. You can change your language preferences to English (pirate) on Facebook and the official International Talk Like a Pirate Day website has plenty of resources for talking in pirate, as well as songs and games. You can discover your own pirate name, and once again, Krispy Kreme doughnuts are giving away free doughnuts to anyone talking or dressed like a pirate.

As always, the IT department here at Access Innovations will be diligently monitoring and preparing for any cyber attacks by pirates to ensure our and your data remains safe and Captain Jack Bruce will ensure our physical headquarters remain safe.

Jennifer Crawford, MLIS
Marketing Librarian for Access Innovations, Inc.