The infamous pirate Jack Sparrow plagues local ISPs

Clinton Mutambo Avatar

It feels like yesterday when l was starting up an experiential marketing business. One of my clients was Ster Kinekor Theatres. I vividly remember the regional GM regularly flying into Zim for reconnaissance meetings; each time we ran through the SWOT analysis one bugger kept popping up! Ster Kinekor HQ (South Africa) placed a bounty on this bugger by bringing in SAFACT (Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft) but it seemed like no one gave a hoot locally. After carrying out a research survey we ‘discovered’ that approximately 60% of our market were buying movies on the street, at Avondale or the Village flee market…Those were interesting times…it appears as if they’ve taken a new twist.

The infamous Jack Sparrow has been buccaneering his way into people’s homes by stealing from local ISPs who are fed up with his antics. For those not in the know, Jack Sparrow is a self styled movie pirate who supplies the black market locally with the latest movies on DVD. A Jack Sparrow DVD costs US $1. He has named himself after the lead character in Pirates of the Caribbean film series.

According to the information we received, Jack Sparrow downloads the movies by granting himself illegal access into the ISP networks. He uses some internet hacking  tools  to grant himself the internet access. Responding to a comment on an article we published recently ZOL CEO, David Behr, shot back:

If you want to watch illegal DVDs, it is way cheaper to just buy a pirate DVD from our local Jack Sparrow the pirate – who amazingly seems immune from the law. I sure wish I could catch him – he steals bandwidth from ZOL – and yes I mean steal.

ZOL is one of Zimbabwe’s largest ISPs.

It’s important for consumers to appreciate the fact that they might be gaining access to counterfeit movies at the expense of a sine qua non (The internet). I personally feel inflamed to consider the fact that ISPs might be chopping down certain packages because of one guy or a handful of okes. It’s human to ignore all the ‘facts’ until we realise their importance. It reminds me of the Spiderman movie when he let a robber get away because he didn’t receive his dues from the owner of the business…guess what…that same robber ends up murdering his own granddad when hijacking his way to freedom.

If this guy is making as much cash as l believe he is, why doesn’t he just pay for internet access? The answer is simple; if he/they make a living off plain robbery how on earth do you expect him/them to pay for anything. These are the sort of guys that don’t stop to give a damn. Ordinary consumers might download or purchase a ‘flick’ to enjoy themselves but this crop does it to fill up their pockets with loot. Ster Kinekor directly employs about 20 people and nearly 100 indirectly, no one might care about that particular example but what if ISPs strip certain privileges because of one nasty little parasite.

I can almost imagine a direct confrontation with this crop; they’d probably blame the economy and the likes. I believe that’s a downright selfish thing to say because they are not the only ones living through a tough patch. If you understand just how much money guys like Jack Sparrow  are making then you’ll realise that talk of a tough economy is nonsense. They can invest in doing legitimate business. We cover the ICT sector and cannot speak outside of this domain, its important that consumers understand the consequences of certain actions.


  1. Ash

    I thot this guy was international, local huh, he must be extremely good, but this may be a wake up call to all these guys to start allowing/providing us zimbabweans with a way to buy movies online, probably form some local server, so that downloads are fast, most pple are willing to pay, but . . .  we do not have the platforms, so we end up getting the pirated copies, and also the ISPs need to tighten their security,if i may be bold to suggest that it may be someone in these ISPs responsible for the downloads . . well im just sying

  2. Blessingd136

    Where exactly is ZOL loooking for him? I remember his number and business address  on many of his discs.

  3. Gsfd

    as long as he isnt pirating local movies they cant touch him

  4. Jose

    I remember an article that said pirate movies and software was more lucrative than drugs, and that drug dealers were changing profession. Because if caught with pirate material the most they would get is a fine, compared to jail time

    Russia had a similar problem if not worse, what they the movie companies ended up doing was bringing out the DVD’s much earlier from time of release in the states, hence if you look at some of jack sparrows DVD’s they are written R5 release. Normally they omit the Dolby Digital sound and lower the quality to fit on a normal layer 4Gb DVD, compared to European dual layer 8Gb.

    I believe they should really consider a similar project for Africa, so I guess it’s a necessary evil for the likes of Jack Sparrow to continue for the movie studios to see that piracy is now a growing problem and to start combating piracy by doing what they did in Russia.

  5. Macd

    Good article but lacks facts, its like a hear say story. Why blame him for stealing internet when your internet have shoddy security mechanism. lm still failing to understand how you are shifting blame for your own failures.

    The biggest failure every ISP in Zim is incurring is that they are buying all these latest and greatest technologies and implement them, but they lack the required technical expert know-how of securing them, when they get hacked, they cry fowl.

    The most exploited security weakness is the human factor, it can be in setup or configuring the system. Learn fast and stop morning!

  6. David

    Can we delete this irrelevant article.
    “by stealing from local ISPs who are fed up with his antics.”  which other isp’s is the author talking about besides Zol(hint David Ceo of Zol jack might have friends in your company helping him)

    And to become the next jack sparrow is quite simple you just need to have
    a) a bunch of powertel modems, OR
    b) a broadband connection with after hours unlimited downloads Or
    c) get in to partnership with your mates eg 15 friends with either option a or b equals atleast 15 movies a night.
    d) use to download movies 

    @e790fbb914a6812aedcc883cafab338e:disqus  seriously you thought he was international where have u been living you can tell he local by intro videos on his dvds.

    @de1f5484b9f5273ca316240442335987:disqus who can’t touch him just because people are concerned about protecting local content doesn’t mean jack sparrow is safe piracy is piracy whether its local or international content period. 

  7. Cannonb

    You know if Ster Kinekor and other movie distributions brought movies to Zim on time (i.e. on release day) the Jacky ol’boy wouldn’t have that many clients, people see movie trailers on DSTV, SABC, YOUTUBE, where-ever “coming june 22nd” and think wow i would love to go and see that – june 22nd rolls round you go to the Cinema and what you know they showing a movie from 3 months ago – ZIMBABWEANS ARE DISAPPOINTED!!!! but  they want movie so – Get things in Zim on time or Risk the pirates taking you business its the fact.

  8. ngth

    Please can we have some clarification on how he is stealing from ISPs and what ISPs it is besides ZOL.  As most of ZOLs packages offer unlimited off peak downloading and circumventing their torrent traffic shaping rules (if they have any) is simple how is this theft?  The only way would be if he had a non paid for connection which begs the question… why is ZOLs security so bad and why cant they track it down.

    Please do some research and back a story up with facts, else we will make assumptions like above.  You cant base a story on a single comment made on your site.

  9. blah jay

    bah!! This is as weak an article you could ever come by. TechZim, this is shaming!! And all you did is just slander people with nothing to back up the content of the article. “Internet tools” i mean WHAT IS THAT! Its tantamount to saying Jack is walking with shoes on his feet (dah!) – how the hell did u expect he would be walking, on his face?

    I think this article is a shoddy piece of work, and it is SO SO unbecoming and far from befits the high regard i hold this site in, please SHAPE UP!!

  10. Clinton Dale Mutambo

    In hindsight; the Jack Sparrow article is a passioned rebuke of crime and did not pinpoint or question inherent security flaws.we respect you for bringing this to light. I believe 

    1. Wevhu

      Do you even have any idea what hacking is? You cannot bandwidth undetected unless you are at the ISP and can attribute your usage to other parties. Are you at all familiar with ISP business models? They always have bandwidth going to waste that they have paid and nobody is using. Do you know how much the SEACOM bandwidth these ISP people promised us years ago even costs? $98 for an uncapped, dedicated one meg per second link….. And that the most expensive package, prices go down to $42. ZOL VSAT 2meg uncapped? 15 thousand dollars a year. Can we please stop with this witch hunting and focus on the real story that nobody from any ISP wants discussed, which is why is our internet in such a bad state? It is holding back business growth and scaring off foreign investors….

  11. Phantom

    Jack Sparrow is providing a much needed service @ an unbeatable value, we would vote him into public office or oversubscribe his IPO if it were at all possible.
     To the writer of this article, Mr Mutambo, if you feel the need to speak for progressive change place your crosshairs on ZESA, ZIMRA or heck why not the REAL authorities (we are shafted everyday, legally and illegally).. Go big or stay home
    To David Behr, until you start offering 1GB ADSL for R29, good luck chasing ‘The Pirate’ but you won’t get much sympathy from us
    To the legendary Jack Sparrow, a quality DVD is hard to come by inthis city, we appreciate your good work.  A big thumbs ups!!

  12. Kakashe

    this article has it wrong… there are 3 faces to jackSparrow… the downloader… the distributor and the duplicator.

    this article talks about the downloader, he is not jack sparrow… he is the infemous KAYOS_63

  13. VoiceOfReason

    So we are to believe one man is responsible for all the downloads? Your reasoning Mr Kakashe seems as flawed as your spelling (infemous)… For starters if there were one guy doing all this he would be incredibly easy to catch unless he worked for an ISP. And do you have any idea how much downloading is done at ISPs by their own staff? There are people getting a fraction of the bandwidth they pay for so someone at their ISP can take down torrents faster… If you were in any way a social computer user and had any friends, you would know everyone has some avi/mkv files lying around, everything from tv series to movies and games. The real problem is that people are not being offered decent service by any ISP. Affordable, uncapped home broadband is not an unrealistic request and if the option is there, most people would rather take it than stoop to trickery just so they can get a reasonable link.

  14. Kakashe


    VoiceOf Reason, I was clarifying the JackSparrow issue that clearly, judging by the above comments, has people missled.

    Yes, i do believe that the person supplying the flee markets is indeed just ONE person, i used to surf with him at a local internet cafe down by 1st street and he used to brag about this all the time. We ALL have avi’s of series or something, that wasnt the issue. As for the ISPs? that could be your own grand fight with “the man” and the lack of sufficient broadband service.

  15. Kuda

    There is a carrier in certified ethical hacking. People who test systems’ security. ZOL should consider employing him.

  16. dhara

    English: this is a dodgy article which does not seem to be well thought
    Shona: apa panyorwa shanga

  17. Qore-ntrol

    i agree, they need to employ him