Doing something dodgy? Don't tell the entire internet, stupid!

Jolly Roger
Proudly flying the pirate flag? Don't be surprised by the consequences

Good news for music pirates: according to, Techcrunch's suggestion that the site is passing on details of anybody listening to the new, unreleased U2 album to the RIAA is "completely false".

Bad news for pirates: the RIAA doesn't need to grab sites' data if you're dumb enough to list illegal downloads on your public profile. Before the U2 album turned up legally on Spotify, all U2's record company needed to do was search for "U2 No Line On The Horizon".

Why go to the hassle of trying to get data from websites when the users will hand it to you on a plate?

We're sure that some of the people listening to the leaked album simply forgot that tells other people what you're listening to, but we're also sure that a fair number of them were boasting. Look at me! I've got something I shouldn't have! I am cool!

We can't imagine that U2's record company particularly cares, especially when the original leak came from, er, U2's record company. But from time to time entertainment firms, software firms and other companies whose stuff ends up shared without their consent like to make an example of people. In that context, bragging about dodgy deeds on social networks is rather silly.

The whole point of social media - blogs, social networks, services such as, Twitter, MySpace and all the rest - is to share your content, and yet time after time people put stuff online to impress their peers without giving any thought to who else might read it.

So people tell their friends they're pulling a sickie, forgetting that the boss will see the status update, too. Students post photos of bad behaviour, forgetting that university staff share the same network and will see the shots. And people that pirate music, movies or software boast about it in places where it isn't that hard for the authorities to find them.

As user SgtBauer puts it: "If you are going to pirate, don't [scrobble] leaked songs and don't make your tracks 'Track_01_SongTitle_The_Pirate_Bay'."

Better still, don't pirate at all: do what we did and listen to the U2 album on Spotify. Then you can legally tell the entire internet that it's rubbish.


Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.