One of Glover’s co-workers was Tony Dockery, another temporary hire.
The two worked opposite ends of the shrink-wrapping machine, twelve feet apart. Most important, they were both fascinated by computers, an unusual interest for two working-class Carolinians in the early nineties—the average Shelbyite was more likely to own a hunting rifle than a PC.
Late in the evening, the host put on music to get people dancing.
Glover, a fixture at clubs in Charlotte, an hour away, had never heard any of the songs before, even though many of them were by artists whose work he enjoyed.
Later, Glover realized that the host had been d.j.’ing with music that had been smuggled out of the plant. Plant policy required all permanent employees to sign a “No Theft Tolerated” agreement.
Sometimes it was even possible, by hacking company servers, or through an employee, to pirate a piece of software before it was available in stores.
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.
“But he would try.”The overtime earnings funded new purchases.
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.