GC: n

S: UN – http://www.un.org/depts/los/piracy/piracy.htm (last access: 23 February 2014); ICC – https://icc-ccs.org/piracy-reporting-centre/live-piracy-map (last access: 31 August 2015).

N: 1. Early 15c., from Medieval Latin piratia, from Greek peirateia “piracy,” from peirates (see pirate (n.)).
2. The operative word in that definition is “lawfully”, as the international law of the sea accepts the declaration, by a belligerent power, of a state of blockage as a legitimate reason for the detention of any ship, whether neutral or belligerent, suspected of carrying contraband. Without that legal right, every such act would by definition rank as piracy.
3. In an act of piracy if a ship is seized out of the control of her legal master and crew by those who have boarded the vessel in disguise as passengers. Piracy by gangs of “passengers” who came on board with concealed arms and revealed the true purpose when at sea was by no means uncommon in Chinese waters as late as the 20th century. Though the worst excesses of piracy have now been stamped out, there are still some areas of the world where it continues to exist on a relatively small scale.
4. Piracy is dealt with at length in Art. 14-22 of the Geneva Convention on the High Seas, 1958. According to Art. 15, “piracy consists of any of the following acts: “(1) Any illegal acts of violence, detention or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or aircraft, and directed: a) on the high seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft; b) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any state. “(2) Any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft. “(3) Any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in sub-paragraph (1) or sub-paragraph (2) of this Article.”
5. piracy, any robbery or other violent action, for private ends and without authorization by public authority, committed on the seas or in the air outside the normal jurisdiction of any state. Because piracy has been regarded as an offense against the law of nations, the public vessels of any state have been permitted to seize a pirate ship, to bring it into port, to try the crew (regardless of their nationality or domicile), and, if they are found guilty, to punish them and to confiscate the ship.
6. According to international law, piracy takes place outside the normal jurisdiction of a state, without state authority, and is private, not political, though acts of unlawful warfare, acts of insurgents and revolutionaries, mutiny, and slave trading have been defined as piracy by national laws of various countries or by special treaties.
7. piracy (copyright crime), act of illegally reproducing or disseminating copyrighted material, such as computer programs, books, music, and films. Although any form of copyright infringement can and has been referred to as piracy, this article focuses on using computers to make digital copies of works for distribution over the Internet.

S: 1. OED – http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=piracy&searchmode=none (last access: 4 September 2014). 2 & 3. GDT (last access: 31 August 2015). 4. TERMIUM PLUS (last access: 31 August 2015). 5 to 7. EncBrit – http://global.britannica.com/topic/piracy-international-law (last access: 31 August 2015).


CR: buccaneer, cracker, freebooter, hijacker, letter of marque, piracy (2), pirate, privateer.