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He began working double shifts, volunteering for every available slot.“We wouldn’t allow him to work more than six consecutive days,” Robert Buchanan, one of his former managers, said.His mother co-signed as the guarantor on the layaway plan.Tinkering with the machine, Glover developed an expertise in hardware assembly, and began to earn money fixing the computers of his friends and neighbors.But at the party, even in front of the supervisors, it seemed clear that the disks had been getting out.

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In the fall of 1996, Hughes Network Systems introduced the country’s first consumer-grade broadband satellite Internet access. The service offered download speeds of up to four hundred kilobits per second, seven times that of even the best dial-up modem. He soon found that the real action was in the chat rooms.

Internet Relay Chat networks tended to be noncommercial, hosted by universities and private individuals and not answerable to corporate standards of online conduct. Online, pirated media files were known as “warez,” from “software,” and were distributed through a subculture dating back to at least 1980, which called itself the Warez Scene.

You created a username and joined a channel, indicated by a pound sign: #politics, #sex, #computers. The Scene was organized in loosely affiliated digital crews, which raced one another to be the first to put new material on the IRC channel.

The ability to regularly source pre-release leaks earned one the ultimate accolade in digital piracy: to be among the “elite.”By the mid-nineties, the Scene had moved beyond software piracy into magazines, pornography, pictures, and even fonts.

In 1996, a Scene member with the screen name Net Fra Ck started a new crew, the world’s first MP3 piracy group: Compress ’Da Audio, or CDA, which used the newly available MP3 standard, a format that could shrink music files by more than ninety per cent.

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