Summary of The Pirate's Dilemma

How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism

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The Pirate's Dilemma book summary
Pirates take art, music and film, remix it, reinterpret it, and emerge with something new, edgy and, well, stolen.


8 Overall

5 Applicability

9 Innovation

9 Style


You’ve been sleeping through an earthquake if you haven’t noticed teenagers freely creating and sharing digital music, photos and videos through the Internet. This is just one example of young pirates blurring the boundaries between ownership and invention, and rebelliously creating new innovations that ultimately transform society and the commercial marketplace. In a book that is both hipster and academic, author Matt Mason makes the case that idea pirates and other rebels who draw from pop culture to create new forms (thus often defying intellectual property laws) can, and often do, benefit society. Mason surveys the landscape for piracy and finds it everywhere, from music remixing to viral hip-hop videos. Although he sometimes slips into the youthful delusion that creativity began with his own generation, Mason does highlight an important point: pirate innovations can help steer society’s course. getAbstract recommends this book to C-level executives seeking to understand changes in the competitive landscape, creative marketers who want to think outside the box and anyone interested in the underground’s influence on mainstream culture.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How youthful, rebellious “cultural piracy” can be a creative force that benefits society
  • How youth culture has changed business
  • Why learning from the pirate’s perspective can ultimately be profitable


Playing the Piracy Game
Game theorists study a hypothetical situation called “The Prisoner’s Dilemma.” In this scenario, police are trying to make a case against either or both of two suspects they have apprehended for the same crime. Each possible outcome carries risks and opportunities...
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About the Author

Former pirate radio DJ Matt Mason is co-founder of WEdia, a Web media portal highlighting worldwide, nonprofit efforts. He was founding editor-in-chief of the alternative music magazine RWD, which created the satiric viral hit, “The Booo Krooo.”

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