bootleg or pirate?

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Senior Member
Mexico - Español
Hi everyone,

Is there any difference between the usage of the terms 'bootleg' and 'pirate', refering to illegal copies of e.g. CDs?


El Pollo
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I'm not an expert, Pollo, but to me the difference is this:
    bootleg CD ~ one that's either (a) stolen, or (b) sold to you as genuine when it isn't.
    pirate CD ~ one that's been deliberately and knowingly illegally reproduced.
    i.e. bootleg, more emphasis on the way it comes to be in your possession; pirate, more emphasis on how the item is manufactured.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English, North America
    I would say that a bootleg CD would be more like a recording that was made on the sly without permission or final approval from the group being recorded--like a recording of a live concert.

    A pirated CD or DVD (or software program) is one that is illegally copied from the original.


    USA English
    I must disagree with ewie's interpretation.

    There are people whose hobby is collecting old bootlegs. If you look on eBay, you'll see many bootleg CD's and records for sale -- advertised as bootlegs. They were all intentionally, knowingly, and deliberately copied and sold. Bootlegs are mass-produced. A single illegal copy cannot be a bootleg.

    A single illegal copy is a pirated copy. Today many people use the internet to download and make pirates of CDs. It's also possible to buy illegal pirates on the black market. Pirates can be mass-produced too.

    mass-produced illegal copy = bootleg or pirate
    personal-use illegal copy = pirate


    Senior Member
    English English
    Like I said, Rose, I'm no expert, and probably shouldnt've posted in the first place.
    Having said that, I do stand by my (personal) BE interpretation in which my definsitisisons are the other way round to yours.


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Bootleg and pirated works are not to be confused with forgeries. Forgeries are works that are deliberately created to fool the buyer into thinking they are getting an original.

    That might or might not be the intent with illegal bootleg or pirated works.


    Senior Member
    English English
    But have you done any looking? Any research? Did you check eBay UK to see how the "pros" are using the terms?
    Good grief no, Rose. As ever while doing this drunk I thought for about 10 seconds then posted whatever came into my head.
    Last edited by a moderator:


    Senior Member
    UK English
    Good to see usual WR standards are in force! ;-) For me bootleg and pirate are synonyms at least if they are in front of the word CD or DVD. These days at my local supermarket I often come across people hawking the things. The quality is often really poor to the extent that if you are watching a film you occasionally the back of someone's head getting up. I suspect pirate is probably more used than bootleg.
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