I have, today, submitted the manuscript of my book, currently titled Warez: The Economic Aesthetics and Alternative Reality Games of the Topsite Scene to the publisher! It’s been a monumental effort over the winter break to get this finished and ready to go after a tricky workload spell owing to a colleague’s unfortunate illness (thankfully, they are now much much better). I started work on this book in 2013 and it is the 9th book manuscript I have submitted (that is: if all goes well on the other manuscript I have under submission, it will be my 9th book).
This is the first scholarly research book about the ‘Warez Scene’, a worldwide, underground, organized network of pirate groups who specialise in obtaining media before their official sale date and then racing against one another to release the material for free. This underground subculture, which began life in the pre-internet era Bulletin Board Systems, moved to internet File Transfer Protocol servers (‘topsites’) in the mid- to late-1990s. The ‘Scene’, as it is known, is highly illegal in almost every aspect of its operation. The term ‘warez’ itself refers to pirated media, a derivative of ‘software’. The Scene is an underground culture with its own norms and rules of participation, its own forms of sociality, and its own artistic outputs. This book describes what is known about this underground culture, its operations, and its infrastructures.