Origin of the Pirate Resignation Letter

As far as I've been able to tell through clever googling in my favorite search engine, the renowned and much beloved Pirate Resignation Letter was written by Chris Castle and delivered to James Bear (deceased), former managing partner of Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP.

After using the letter, Castle shared it with his friend, user "Otter Von Pop" of the (now defunct) BirdSunEye.com forum, and that user posted it on 17 October 2003 both as a forum post and as a Word doc attachment.

Later that morning, Chris Castle, posting as "The Bartender" confirmed the story and reported on the (first ever!) recipient's humorless (or brilliantly funny!) reply.

Harvested from the past and hosted right here on Popehat is that original forum thread:

Original Pirate Resignation Letter Thread

Enjoy this bit of net.history! And if you have anything to add about the people or circumstances, please share what you know in the comments.

UPDATE: There's a new pretender to the helm!

Last 5 posts by David Byron


  1. Captain Pugwash says

    I am about to move on to a new position and once the finalized offer comes in I just know now how I am going to inform my manager and director of my decision. Just change a couple of names and its perfect!

  2. says

    Let me see – would that be the Chris Castle who can't stand criticism, when you point out that he's an idiot about copyright?

    After all, there can't be that many people named Chris Castle. Can there?


  3. Doug says

    The date on the letter at the beginning and the date of resignation are off by several years. Just saying.

  4. says


    I suppose the fellow who posted it, Otter Von Pop, typed the current date (17-Oct-2003), even though the letter itself references 03-May-2001 as the date of the actual resignation.

    As OVP says at the top of his post, he "suck[s] at this whole computer thing… sorry". ;)

  5. Kevin says

    @Wayne Borean: If it's the same guy as this Chris Castle, then he would seem to have taken quite a different career path than "pirate".

    tl;dr version of the linked article: Because Google opposed SOPA, obviously they must be drug dealing terrorist sympathizers.

  6. says

    I can't tell if it's the same Chris Castle or not, but for a guy that's such a techy, he sure has a really sucky web site that doesn't even have anything noteworthy on it other than self-masturbatory links all over the place. Since both of these guys are really revved up about IP, since he went solo, I strongly suspect it's the same guy – but need to do a little more searching

  7. Jon says

    Linkedin Chris is definitely the same guy, since he's got KMOB on his resume. HuffPo Chris doesn't appear to be the same guy; he's located in Austin, Texas and the other Chris has been in California for his entire professional life. Bill, unless you are looking at some other web site, that's not Chris' personal site — it's LinkedIn.

  8. PLW says

    I think it's got to be the LinkedIn guy, and it looks like he is getting plenty of use out of the resignation letter.

  9. says

    @Jon – the guy that wrote the huffpo piece is def linked in dude, I was just trying to determine if pirate guy and huffpo guy were the same.not sure

  10. The Bartender says

    Thank you for finding this! I found the response letter sometime ago – thoroughly enjoyed. I must admit that your assumption here: "It's possible that you are overqualified." was likely spot-on at that time.

  11. says

    Yes, I see. Glad to see he kept his sense of humor :)

    The Chris Castle I had the disagreement with is the one who runs the Music Tech Policy blog, and who doesn't like comments which disagree with him. In fact at one point he disabled comments totally, probably because no one except the RIAA and MPAA liked what he had to say.

    He tried to claim he represented artists, and possibly he does, but the line he takes appears to favor the labels over the artists. I would not recommend him as a lawyer to any artist needing legal help.