Piracy & Social Change| Dialogic Comedy in Pirate Rhetoric

Michael High


This article analyzes how the groups of the Swedish Pirate movement (specifically the Piratbyrån, The Pirate Bay, the Missionerande Kopimistsamfundet, and the Piratpartiet) use dialogical comedy to counter the rhetoric of the copyright lobby. By appropriating the discourse, slogans, and even names of pro-copyright groups, the Swedish groups position themselves as the natural respondents to antipiracy campaigns. This positioning helps them to publicize onerous copyright legislation and prompt discussion on infringement, free speech, and digital rights. The reclamation of the term piracy and the subversive doubling of antipiracy rhetoric in parody, irony, and satire allows for the resignification of piracy and the recontextualization of incorrect and alarmist statements by industry representatives. As a rhetorical strategy, dialogic comedy counters hegemonic discourse, facilitates social learning, and inaugurates debate and dialogue.


Piratbyrån, The Pirate Bay, Kopimism, Piratpartiet, piracy, parody, irony, satire, comedy, dialogism, copyright, rhetoric, appropriation

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