A privateer was a civilian ship or individual serving a governmental organization in a paramilitary role, or a member of its crew. Often what was basically legitimized pirates, a privateer captain would operate under a government contract known as a letter of marque and reprisal, giving him authority to harass, seize and destroy the shipping of another organization—typically one that was considered an enemy in times of war.
In the Galactic Civil War, the Rebel Alliance would hire a number of privateers to harass Imperial shippings, a policy supported particularly by Ral'Rai Muvunc of Ordnance and Supply. The Imperials themselves also utilized privateers, with Palpatine giving explicit permission for privateers to raid enemy shipping on his behalf, and the Imperial Military tolerates their actions in the Outer Rim so long as they do not directly interfere with the Imperials' activities. After the Battle of Endor, the use of privateers by the New Republic shrank considerably, reflecting the increased size and status of the fleet under Admiral Ackbar, who had always opposed their use. However, Imperial Moffs and warlords started issuing their own letters of marque, and during the crisis of the reborn Emperor, the New Republic would once more make use of privateers. By 11 ABY, privateering sponsored by the New Republic, as well as by the Imperial Remnant was nearly completely phased out.
Privateers were also common in the Hapes Cluster, where they seem to have served the interests of political factions in the Hapes Consortium. Prince Isolder famously went undercover with the crew of Corellian pirate Grov Bricker to track down Harravan, the Hapan privateer who killed his brother, Kalen.
Other governments that issued letters of marque included the Allied Tion sector and the Centrality. Some corporations also sponsored privateer-like mercenaries, including TaggeCo, Santhe/Sienar Technologies, SoroSuub Corporation, the Corporate Sector Authority and the Mining Guild.
- The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Rise of the Hutt Cartel
- Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Fallen Empire
- Republic 69: Dreadnaughts of Rendili, Part 1 (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars Galaxies: Jump to Lightspeed
- Riders of the Maelstrom
- (Mentioned only)
- The Courtship of Princess Leia
- Young Jedi Knights: Heirs of the Force (Mentioned only)
- The New Jedi Order: Edge of Victory II: Rebirth
- Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game
- The Star Wars Sourcebook
- Star Wars Campaign Pack
- Cracken's Rebel Field Guide
- Star Wars Gamemaster Kit
- Star Wars Gamemaster Handbook
- Galaxy Guide 9: Fragments from the Rim
- Dark Empire Sourcebook
- The Last Command Sourcebook
- "The Free-Trader's Guide to Sevarcos"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 2
- "Smuggler's Log"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 2
- "Rebel Privateers!"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 2
- Star Wars Sourcebook, Second Edition
- "Blasters for Hire"—Star Wars Adventure Journal 3
- Star Wars Gamemaster Screen, Revised
- Shadows of the Empire Planets Guide
- Pirates & Privateers
- Special Ops: The Privateer"—Star Wars Gamer 2 "
- Threats of the Galaxy
- The Force Unleashed Campaign Guide
- Scum and Villainy
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Core Rulebook
- Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide