Freakonomics a Chart-Topper

On the list of illegally downloaded e-books, that is.

Here's the Washington Post with the story, and here's the N.Y. Times.

The underlying study claims that more than 9 millions copies of books were illegally downloaded last year.

Freakonomics meets Pirates of the Caribbean

That's how the Las Vegas Weekly describes economist Pete Leeson's book The Invisible Hook: The Hidden Economics of Pirates.

The Invisible Hook is an excellent book by one of the most creative young economists around, Pete Leeson, based off some of his academic papers, including this one that was published in Journal of Political Economy when I was the editor. I have to admit that as an editor I was skeptical when I received a manuscript on pirates from an obscure economist, but the combination of careful research and really interesting insights quickly won me over to Leeson's work.

Community Pirating

After jump-starting the economies of Somali fishing towns, local pirates are taking their local business further by setting up "stock exchanges" that host 72 pirate gangs or "maritime companies," a Reuters article reports.

Can You Pirate Piracy?

We’ve been watching the wandering meaning of the word “piracy” over the last few weeks, as it stretches and shrinks to accommodate the modern world. The re-emergence of honest-to-goodness sea piracy shares headline space with the high-profile trial of Swedish internet pirates and the debate over just what to call “digital piracy.” The Wall Street […]

Pirates Steal Ships, Not Songs

If you copy this post and pass it off as your own, that’s called plagiarism. If you illegally download a Freakonomics e-book for yourself, that’s downlifting (or, more traditionally, bootlegging). If you want to be a pirate, downloading a bootleg of Hook isn’t going to get you there — you’re going to have to actually […]

Pirate Economics 101: A Q&A With Invisible Hook Author Peter Leeson

The crew of the Maersk Alabama, having survived an attack by pirates in Somalia last week, has returned home for a much-deserved rest. But with tensions ratcheting up between the U.S. and the rag-tag confederation of Somali pirates, it's worth looking to the past for clues on how to tame the outlaw seas.

How About "Downlifting" to Replace "Digital Piracy"?

We recently asked you to consider renaming “digital piracy” in light of recent actual piracy. The question appears to have some resonance, as it was picked up by The Guardian, The Washington Post, and others. For my money, the best suggestion by far comes from a reader named Derek: Downlifting. Download + shoplifting. Pretty accurate […]

Is It Time to Rename "Digital Piracy"?

In light of the recent spate of Somali pirate attacks (here's one interesting long view, and here's another), I wonder if it's time to start calling "digital piracy" something else.

High-Seas Piracy and the Great Recession

Ryan Hagen, a prized Freakonomics research assistant, has previously worked as a research associate for N.Y.U.’s Center for Catastrophe Preparedness & Response. He has an interest in pirates that might reasonably be deemed obsessive. Photo: Cliff Somali pirates hijacked an American cargo ship on Wednesday, with the intention of holding the ship and its 20-man […]

The Birth of Book Pirates?

| About 250 Kindle users are using Amazon’s tagging system to boycott e-books that cost over $10, claiming that an e-book is more “restricted in its use” than a paper book and should therefore cost less, reports Wired. One of the boycotters’ main complaints: you can’t lend out your e-books to friends. When digital music […]