Anti Piracy
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7 examples of very ironic piracy cases

Posted by Julia Bourke on Tuesday, Aug 22, 2017

Very occasionally, copyright and piracy legal cases have a taste for the ironic. We’ve compiled a list of 7 hilariously ironic examples of piracy.


Many aspects of law have a peculiar taste for irony, and copyright law is no exception. We’ve listed here 7 examples of piracy cases that surely made the judge giggle. Shiver me timbers!

1. The Pirate Bay reports and threatens to sue anti-piracy site

In a surprising and rather ironic turn of events, prominent torrent site The Pirate Bay complained in 2013 that an anti-piracy group breached copyright law. The group, CIAPC, essentially copied The Pirate Bay’s stylesheet, and included a logo of a sinking pirate ship that arguably more than parodied the torrent site’s famous design, causing them to complain to Finnish authorities. CIAPC have previously made headlines for raiding the home of a pirating 9-year-old girl and confiscating her Winnie The Pooh Laptop. The Pirate Bay promised that if they took legal action, they would donate any damages won toward a new laptop for the girl. Yes, really.

2. Harry Potter reveals pirated anti-piracy music

In 2006, musician Melchior Rietveldt accepted an offer from prominent Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN to compose a piece of music for a one-off video on piracy to be shown at a film festival. However, in 2007 Rietveldt discovered the advert, with the piece of music still used, pirated on a Harry Potter DVD. Some further investigation revealed that he was owed around €165,000 in lost revenue. Oh dear, we are in trouble. Rietveldt eventually sued and was awarded some €56,000 in damages as well as his legal costs reimbursed.

3. Copyright enforcement agency stealS font

French anti-piracy system Hadopi, which launched in 2009, has seen waves of controversy since its birth. In 2013, the third-strike clause that allowed for suspension of internet access for repeat infringers was revoked following a fierce backlash. But in its early days, too, Hadopi stepped on toes - like in 2010 when it infringed on copyright in the use of its font face. Hadopi were forced to quickly license a new font and revamp their logo, quietly issuing an apology to designer Jean-François Porchez.

4. Lecture on copyright blasted for copyright infringement

Creative Commons co-founder Lawrence Lessig was in 2014 threatened with legal action for his lecture on Fair Use policy in copyright law. His YouTube-uploaded lecture included clips of people dancing to Phoenix song ‘Lisztomania’, using the videos to explain how the internet facilitates artistic derivatives. Lessig responded by instead suing the rights owner Liberation Music for misrepresenting the video, ultimately receiving an undisclosed sum that was donated to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an advocate for digital free speech.

5. Captain Morgan sued for being a pirate

In 2012, Captain Morgan rum was sued by American Beverage Corp. (ABC) for allegedly copying its pouch cocktails in Parrot Bay Freeze ‘n’ Squeeze drinks. ABC ultimately lost the case, however, as it was deemed obvious that Captain Morgan was, in fact, a pirate. Okay, there wasn’t sufficient evidence that the two products were being confused causing irreparable damage. Arr.

6. Pirated anti-piracy company confuses patents

In 2010 German company Medien Patent Verwaltung (MPV) sued media companies Warner Bros., Technicolor, and Deluxe Entertainment for illegally using its patented anti-piracy technology, which worked by making audio files unreadable where they were copied. However, MPV shot themselves in the foot when submitting the complaint - they stipulated that the infringed patent’s title was one that is actually held by Warner Bros.

7. Pirates were furious at pirated game’s games being pirated

Yes, that is correct. Ingenious indie video game developer Greenheart Games targeted video game piracy through in-game video game piracy. The game Game Dev Tycoon, where players work in a video game company, was released by Greenheart onto The Pirate Bay. The catch? The pirated game version was unbeatable: the in-game developed video games would be impossibly pirated until the player’s company finally went bankrupt. This resulted in a flurry of online complaints from pirates who complained that they just couldn’t progress. Game over - for pirates at least.

Piracy may be funny sometimes, but it is always immoral. Stealing from creators undermines years of hard work in developing great content, and continues to damage industries, creativity, and innovation in unprecedented ways. Here at Red Points, we work to support international digital copyright laws that benefit users, including fair usage of copyrighted content. In case of infringement, however, we actively defend creators and work with them to remove infringing content from the web using our advanced anti-piracy tech solution. We are in a time of change for digital content consumption, and we must work together to support further creativity. To find out more about how the landscape of digital piracy is changing, take a look at our free eBook:


About the author

Julia Bourke

Post Written by Julia Bourke

Focusing on emerging trends and industry news, Julia works as a content writer and data journalist. Julia graduated from the University of Southampton with a BA Hons in English Literature.