The Military Brags About its Music Piracy?

For those in the military or who have been in the military, you probably already know of the infamous “morale drive” that exists at deployed locations. On the government-maintained unclassified computer networks, each deployed location or network has a shared drive accessible from any of the computers that they call a morale drive. It contains an untold number of TV shows, movies, and music files that are available for streaming or copying to a local drive, and it supposedly surpasses over 10 Terabytes at some locations. The files come from deploying members who add to the drive, and it’s commonplace for at least one member of a deploying unit to bring a large, external hard drive for the purpose of bringing back as much as possible.

Back when new copyright legislation was being introduced in a Senate sub-committee, a friend who is still in the military had said I should do a story on the morale drive to point out his perceived hypocrisy in the legislation. I declined because I always assumed it was one of those “unspoken” things you weren’t supposed to talk about, or else you’d be universally hated. While I’ve written plenty of unpopular stuff before, in this case I didn’t feel there was enough justification for ruffling so many feathers because nothing would come of it except ruffled feathers. Plus while senior military leaders undoubtedly are aware of it, I doubt it’s been brought to the attention of Congress.

As it turns out, it’s not one of those “unspoken” things you don’t talk about. In fact, in 2006 the Air Force published a story on an Airman who was “the hook up” for movies and music. It seems extremely odd that this got through so many filters and got published, but there it is. If the military can publish stories highlighting the great work of somebody responsible for facilitating something technically illegal, I feel alright mentioning it in a blog post.