Wired 13.01: The Shadow Internet I really enjoyed this article by Jeff Howe for Wired Magazine. It takes a look at how the bootleg networks work. From insider to ripper to top seed networks down the food chain to the P2P networks.
I caught a glimpse of some of this long, long ago in the mid-80s on the dial up BBSs. Upload a game to the BBS for credits and download a new game. I was never much good at it, and, at 300 baud on your C-64, it was easier to just go over to a friend’s house and make a copy. I imagine a lot of the infrastructure can trace its roots back to the old BBS warez networks.