Amazon.com, the world’s largest online retailer, is under attack by online pirates. An add-on for the Firefox browser called ‘Pirates of the Amazon’ makes it possible to shop at the Amazon store but leave without paying a dime. Instead, on Amazon product pages the add-on integrates links to “free” copies on The Pirate Bay.
The timing of the Pirates of the Amazon launch could not have been more unfortunate. At the busiest time of the year for on- and offline retailers, this Firefox browser add-on offers users a download link to pirated copies of products that can normally be found in the Amazon online store.
When the add-on is installed, it integrates a new “download 4 free” button into the Amazon product page when the same article is also available via The Pirate Bay. It works for CDs, DVDs, games, books and basically all products that can be converted to a digital format.
With their mash up of the largest online retailer and the largest Bittorrent tracker, the project aims to “be a counterpart to the current models of media distribution,” and to “redistribute the wealth.”
The people behind the project have chosen to link to The Pirate Bay, but clearly state that they act independently. “We are not affiliated with The Pirate Bay, and do not host or even link to any illegal content,” they write. “This artistic project addresses the topic of current media distribution models vs. current culture and technical possibilities.”
Pirates of the Amazon is not the only pirate add-on for Firefox, in fact there are quite a few. IMDB, Last.fm, and Rotten Tomatoes all have their own pirate skin available. Most of them use the Greasemonkey add-on which allows the installation of all kinds of useful user scripts which customize the web to your pirate needs.
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