Illegitimi non carborundum

April 24th, 2017

Latin Copyright Warning

Illegitimi non carborundum is a Latin phrase meaning “Do not make illegal copies of this disk.” It is also sometimes mistaken to mean “fuck the system” by people without a sense of humor.

The phrase first appeared on copies of the Microsoft Windows 95(TM) installation CD, as a reminder to consumers that they should not make illegal copies of that disk. The warning was part of Microsoft’s 1996 “Breaking the Law Is Illegal” awareness campaign. It was thought that consumers would respect the warning if it was in Latin, because anything written in Latin is more impressive. However, it was eventually discovered that most Windows users don’t speak Latin, at which point the warning was translated into English. This translation came too late, however, and by early 1996 unlawful illegal disk copying was already rampant. Disks with the English-language warning are valued by collectors for their rarity, because by the time they were released, nearly 100% of the available Windows 95 CDs were illegal copies.

English Version

The phrase has several variations:

  • Illegitimi non carborundum.
  • Illegitimi nil carborundum.
  • Nil illegitimi piratus.
  • Nil illegitimi carborundum.
  • Discus non carborundum.
  • ILl3g1T|MY n0n c4R8oRUnDum!!!1!11

While all of the above are technically proper slang Latin, only the first was in common usage by the mid 16th century. It was originally carved onto Roman discus balls used by athletes, warning competitors not to make “illegal copies of this discus.”


The term Illegitimi is misunderstood by English speakers to mean “illegal”, but it is actually the Latin name for polycarbonate, a transparent plastic-like material that was used by the Romans to make the olympic discus. Modern compact discs are still made from polycarbonate. The gerund “carborundum” should have required a dative (“illegitimis,” “of this disc”), but historians believe that ancient Roman athletes used the slang in this way because it rhymed better in their raps.[cn]

Carborundum comes from the latin word for copying, “carborus”, which refers to the carbon paper (papyrus carborundum) used by the Romans when duplicating signatures on official documents.

Nil means “not”, or “nothing”. Everybody knows that.[cn]

Incorrect Translations

The incorrect translation “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” originated from the use of grinding systems to repair scratched or damaged CD media. Because software pirates used these devices to restore CD-ROM media instead of purchasing legal replacements (as required by law), software vendors would confuse the copyright warning as a notice that they should not use grinding devices.


This is a mirror of my uncyclopedia article on the phrase “Illegitimi non carborundum”, maintained here because I don’t trust uncyclopedia to remain backed up and un-vandalized, and because I enjoyed making it a lot.

Gig report: Meh

April 7th, 2017

It’s so hard to care–it feels like some of these gigs are just a second job. Well screw that, it’s not like they pay anything like what it’s worth to even show up, much less show up with a bunch of gear and work my ass off. Even the shows that would normally be really fun are overshadowed by how totally tiresome the “just work” gigs have become. I’m starting to get those WTF “why am I doing this” moments.

That’s bad. Do WTF moments fall afoul of the Zero Drama Rule? (Zero drama, zero tolerance!) If so, it means I need to quit at least one band. Maaan, I hate quitting.

Just another Chillers gig

February 9th, 2017

So just another two nighter. Not too busy, but the crowd was friendly and dancing both nights. Now if only we can get them to tip more. :)