In last night's monthly Zoom meeting I told the story about an Atari Pirate Group in the Cleveland, Ohio area that had a story appear on the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper. The Group called themselves Atari Pirates Incorporated, or API for short. I was not a part of this pirate group, but I knew some of them at school. I remember one of the pirates, "The Dark Knight", bragging on one of the local BBSs about the forthcoming newspaper article. And he was declaring "victory" over the other rival pirate groups in the area.
The date was Sunday, August 4, 1985 when the article came out. I remember being surprised by it when I retrieved the newspaper that morning. The article made a big splash, but probably not as the pirates expected. For starters, non-Atari users would ask, "What in the hell is a happy disk?" And rival Commodore Groups ended up making fun of this alleged "Happy Disk" and how the pirates sounded like little kids in the article.
If that wasn't enough, the members of API ended up getting busted by the Feds shortly after the article ran. How did the feds find these guys? The photo that ran with the article included an overhead shot of one of the pirates called Dr. Demento. Next to Dr. Demento, in the photo, was a telephone. Back in the day, most telephones had a telephone number tag on them. The telephone in this photo was no exception, so the feds zoomed in on the photo, read the telephone number off the phone, and traced it back to Dr. Demento's house. The original newspaper article is included below. It is split into two pages. Enjoy!