X-Files and Videotape: The Early Days of Internet Piracy (CNET)


Today, content flows so freely and easily within moments of broadcast at the speed of light, delivered in torrential clusters that separate what you get from any real person who has shared it with you. Authorities who want to track down such participants have ways to work out who you might be, but for the people just eager to access the shared content, the process feels anonymous and robotic.

We connect through forums, Reddit and social media now, of course, to talk about the shows we watch and the music we listen to. The act of piracy is separated from the fandom, and services like Netflix opened up the path toward large scale access without the wholesale piracy. So it’s not worse, it’s just different. But that need for physical interaction, receiving tapes from afar complete with local advertising from a country far away, is something that I’ll always remember fondly.