PIRACY, torts. By piracy is understood the plagiarisms of a book, engraving or other work, for which a copyright has been taken out. 2. When a piracy has been made of such a work, an injunction will be granted. 5 Ves. 709; 4 Ves. 681; 12 Ves. 270. Vide copyright.
PIRACY, crim. law. A robbery or forcible depreciation on the high seas, without lawful authority, done animo furandi, in the spirit and intention of universal hostility. 5 Wheat. 153, 163; 3 Wheat. 610; 3 Wash. C. C. R. 209. This is the definition of this offence by the law of nations. 1 Kent, Com. 183. The word is derived from peira deceptio, deceit or deception: or from peiron wandering up and down, and resting in no place, but coasting hither and thither to do mischief. Ridley's View, Part 2, c. 1, s. 3.
2. Congress may define and punish piracies and felonies on the high seas, and offences against the law of nations. Const. U. S. Art. 1, s. 7, n. 10; 5 Wheat. 184, 153, 76; 3 Wheat. 336. In pursuance of the authority thus given by the constitution, it was declared by the act of congress of April 30, 1790, s. 8, 1 Story's Laws U. S. 84, that murder or robbery committed on the high seas, or in any river, haven, or bay, out of the jurisdiction of any particular state, or any offence, which, if committed within the body of a county, would, by the laws of the United States, be punishable with death, should be adjudged to be piracy and felony, and punishable with death. It was further declared, that if any captain or manner should piratically and feloniously run away with a vessel, or any goods or merchandise of the value of fifty dollars; or should yield up such vessel voluntarily to pirates; or if any seaman should forcible endeavor to hinder his commander from defending the ship or goods committed to his trust, or should make revolt in the ship; every such offender should be adjudged a pirate and felon, and be punishable with death. Accessaries before the fact are punishable as the principal; those after the fact with fine and imprisonment.
3. By a subsequent act, passed March 3, 1819, 3 Story, 1739, made perpetual by the act of May 15, 1820, 1 Story, 1798, congress declared, that if any person upon the high seas, should commit the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, he should, on conviction, suffer death.
4. And again by the act of May 15, 1820, s. 3, 1 Story, 1798, congress declared that if any person should, upon the high seas, or in any open roadstead, or in any haven, basin or bay, or in any river where the sea ebbs and flows, commit the crime of robbery in or upon any ship or vessel, or upon any of the ship's company of any ship or vessel, or the lading thereof, such person should be adjudged to be a pirate, and suffer death. And if any person engaged in any piratical cruise or enterprize, or being of the crew or ship's company of any piratical ship or vessel, should land from such ship or vessel, and, on shore; should commit robbery, such person should be adjudged a pirate and suffer death. Provided that the state in which the offence may have been committed should not be deprived of its jurisdiction over the same, when committed within the body of a county, and that the courts of the United States should have no jurisdiction to try such offenders, after conviction or acquittal, for the same offence, in a state court. The 4th and 5th sections of the last mentioned act declare persons engaged in the slave trade, or in forcibly detaining a free negro or mulatto and carrying him in any ship or vessel into slavery, piracy, punishable with death. Vide 1 Kent, Com. 183; Beaussant, Code Maritime, t. 1, p. 244; Dalloz, Diet. Supp. h. t.; Dougl. 613; Park's Ins. Index, h. t. Bac. Ab. h. t.; 16 Vin. Ab. 346; Ayl. Pand. 42 11 Wheat. R. 39; 1 Gall. R. 247; Id. 524 3 W. C. C. R. 209, 240; 1 Pet. C. C. R. 118, 121.