For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

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Thursday, 13 August 2009

Pirate Party reaches the UK

Following the European trend set by Sweden and Germany, the United Kingdom now has its very own Pirate Party. The message that greets visitors to its website reads as follows:

"The world is changing [well, that's one thing we can all agree on]. The Pirate Party understands that the law needs to change to match the realities of life in the 21st century [this rather implies that the law has to change in order to accommodate the realities of life. Law has no norm-setting role, presumably ...].

We have 3 core policies:

• Reform copyright and patent law. We want to legalise non-commercial [viewed by the file sharer, it's non-commercial, but from the point of view of someone who's trying to sell rights in copying, downloading, etc, it isn't. If I help myself to an apple from the fruit stall for my own private consumption, that's non-c0mmercial too] file sharing and reduce the excessive length of copyright protection [now, this is a vote-winner], while ensuring that when creative works are sold, it's the artists who benefit, not monopoly rights holders [are they never perchance the same people?]. We want a patent system that doesn't stifle innovation [is there any evidence that it is stifled? Seems to be lots of innovation in the shops] or make life saving drugs so expensive that patients die [a bit simplistic, this? Why are off-patent drugs so expensive and so unattractive to make and sell, when they can save so many lives?].

• End the excessive surveillance, profiling, tracking and monitoring of innocent people by Government and big businesses [quite right! We only want to survey, profile, track and monitor the ones who aren't innocent].

• Ensure that everyone has real freedom of speech [as compared with what?] and real freedom to enjoy and participate in our shared culture [!].

In recent years we have seen an unprecedented onslaught on the rights of the individual. We are treated like criminals when we share entertainment digitally, even though this is just the modern equivalent of lending a book or a DVD to a friend. We look on helpless as our culture and heritage, so important for binding our society together, is eroded and privatised.

Now there is a democratic alternative. We, the people, can take back our rights. We, the people, can overturn the fat cats [the IPKat is not amused] and the corrupt MPs who hold our nation's cultural treasures to ransom [I didn't realise that the all-party group of corrupt MPs had taken a line on this issue. If they were so corrupt, wouldn't they be ignoring the law and unlawfully sharing all those files ...?], ignore our democratic wishes and undermine our civil liberties.

The internet has turned our world into a global village. Ideas can be shared at incredible speed, and at negligible cost [What! even in a world full of evil IP rights!]. The benefits are plain to see, but as a result, many vested interests are threatened. The old guard works hard to preserve their power and their privilege [damned rude of them. Why don't they just surrender it and become consumers, like everyone else?], so we must work hard for our freedom. The Pirate Party offers an alternative to the last century's struggles between political left and political right. We are open to anyone and everyone who wants to live in a fair and open society.

Following on from the wildfire success of our sister parties in other countries [sounds as though wildfire may not be so dangerous, after all ...], the Pirate Party UK offers a new way to tackle society's problems, by releasing the potential of ideas, at the expense of corporate monopolies and the interests of a controlling state.

Outdated laws must change, and will change. The only question is when will we change them. Join our cause, and help make this change happen now!"

14 comments:

George said...

I wonder if the Pirate Party plan to apply for trade mark protection over their logo?

Anonymous said...

So now we know how to solve the world's problems, reform IP! This will of course immediately and by implication resolve world hunger, overpopulation, poverty, corruption, violation of human rights, poor access to health care etc etc etc etc.......

It seems to me that many people have no clue (or have forgotten) what life was like before the world wide web and have become so used to getting things for free, that they fail to realise that someone actually has to produce the content which they so gratuitously copy and those people are entitled to be paid for their work. If they are not paid they will go and do something else. Artistic endeavour will then suffer as a result because the professionals will be replaced by amateurs.

Rights to content are being created from nothing, with no apparent obligations to content producers, even if they are "evil" corporations, if stealing their work is OK, where does it end, who decides whether or not a content provider is "evil" and so deserves to have his work stolen, the Pirate Party?. If I were to purloin a CD or DVD from my local branch of Dixons I would be arrested. File sharing is theft, plain and simple and theft can never be legalised.

Anonymous said...

I think that Tufty should be the party leader. He has all the necessary qualities - good looks, charisma, survival and even killer instincts when appropriate, and world wide recognition.

Tufty is probably at least as electable than your current Prime Minister.

Francis Davey said...

To the anonymous contributor who said so: file sharing isn't theft.

Not merely because it doesn't constitute the dishonest appropriation of property belonging to another with an intention to permanently deprive them of it (per s.1 Theft Act 1968), but because the technical distinction between theft and other wrongs is that theft is about depriving someone of dominion over something they own. Infringing an intellectual property owner's rights does not prevent them making full use of their (invention, work, whatever) what it may do is to reduce the value to the owner of their rights.

This is an important distinction. If you come and trample on my land; play loud music so I cannot enjoy it; say false things about me so that people avoid me and try to persuade my clients to break their contracts with me while conspiring against me with others, you will be causing me actionable damage but you won't be committing theft. You may not even be committing a crime (it all depends).

The way in which perfectly sensible discussion of what, if any, are the sensible boundaries of the various intellectual property rights that are recognised in law is not assisted by proof by bald assertion (eg "its theft"). It is that kind of unhelpful use of language which has lead the Pirate Party to give itself a name which (thankfully) means that it is unlikely to be elected.

Where the real debate should be is: have those who wish to assert IP rights demonstrated that those rights need to be as extensive as they are for the general good. There is very good evidence to the contrary of course, but the burden is on the claimer of the monopoly.

cabalamat said...

George: I wonder if the Pirate Party plan to apply for trade mark protection over their logo?

No, we don't. Although it is protected by electoral law (as is our name), so other parties/candidates can't pass themselves off as us.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Davey, your calm and intelligent comments have no place on the intertubes. Comments must use at least one exclamation (!) mark, and attack the character of one of the parties involved.

You dare question the existing IP paradigm: you must obviously be drinking cool-aid or smoking something.

Without ever-stronger IP, we will all suffer - thus it must be imposed despite the will of the people.

Anonymous said...

While checking for Pirate Party appplications (none at IPO or OHIM), I was however impressed by the marketing initiative / cheek of CTM Application No 8431702 THE PIRATE BAY, filed in respect of Rum in Class 33.

Aharr, Jim lad, an' shiver me timbers, the pirates they be a-piratin' the pirates! Ye should file the Black Spot at OHIM, mark me words, an' request a keel-haulin'!

Anonymous said...

I don't like theft either, because it is a term which has a different definition in other contexts, in most jurisdictions around the world. A more neutral term would be better, such as "parasitic distribution" which would still reflect that it is all about being generous with something that you did not earn yourself.

Nick said...

Not a particularly well reasoned commentary.

I am bored with this filesharing == theft nonsense. Theft has always been a crime because it deprives someone of something they own. If you steal my computer, I can't go online. Piracy, while you might argue it is still wrong, does not do this. Stealing from an apple cart wouldn't be considered a crime if the apple was left behind as well as taken, it would be considered the answer to world hunger. Everyone releaises this and continuing to argue that it is theft just makes you look stupid.

I refuse to buy any more DVDs that forces me to watch a boring ad asserting this rubbish. What kind of company deliberately makes its products worse for the consumer and then wonders why its revenue is declining?

If you are against leagalising non-comercial file sharing then the way to go about getting your way isn't to stick your head in the sand and pretend it will go away. It is so prevalent, easy and safe that it might as well be legal already. The most effective way to stop it is to make a reasonable way to buy things online.

I used to use Napster and KaZaa to share music but then iTunes came along (with it's easily crackable-DRM and then DRM free music at a reasonable price) and I stopped. Now I download films and TV. If these were available at a reasonable price DRM free (I want to be able to play them on Linux and re-compress them to play on my phone) then I wouldn't bother and - much more importantly for the rights holders, would spend a lot more money on them.

Also, why buy a DVD when soon I'll probably have a blue-ray player? Better to just download a copy of the blue-ray film and make a DVD from it myself. Nobody will feel good about building a collection of DVDs when they will be obsolete soon, how about giving cheap blueray DVDs to people who bought the original DVD?

Paul Jakma said...

viewed by the file sharer, it's non-commercial, but from the point of view of someone who's trying to sell rights in copying, downloading, etc, it isn't.

So how does this view of the IPKat square with the IPKats response to its regular purloining of random images from the web:

if a copyright owner objects .. the image will be withdrawn. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone...

When I last attempted to raise this matter with the IPKat, my research led to conclude that quite a few of the images used were ones where the copyright owner had a commercial interest in restricting the use (e.g. photos from stock-photo-banks, or professional photographers sites) and/or required attribution for any use. A quick investigation of the images on the front page of IPKat today suggests practice has not changed.

I really don't understand how the IPKat can be so scathing when it comes to younger generations wheeling and dealing in music that is obtained just as easily via online radio and youtube, but then borrow so freely from others for the imagery on this site.

I would love to read an article here on this apparent paradox.

Japser said...

"Why are off-patent drugs so expensive and so unattractive to make and sell, when they can save so many lives?"

Because the large pharma companies make deals with the genetics mfgs. to stay away from the market even after the SPC has expired. Fortunately, Ms. Kroes has started investigations.

"If I help myself to an apple from the fruit stall for my own private consumption, that's non-c0mmercial too"

Correct. Difference is that if you take away an apple, the fruit salesman has one apple less. If you download for non-commercial use, the copyright owner still has its entire work. So from my legal perspective, this comparison is not entirely correct.

And in quite some European companies, you have already paid a compensation by means of copyright levies om empty media like DVD+RW.
It's like not being allowed to drive on the motorway, but still having to pay road tax because you may accidentally drive illegally on that motorway.

Copyright is - in principle - a good thing, in particular to stimulate creativity, but copyright legislation has at quite some points become a very, very, very sick and malformed instrument.

Japser said...

@myself:

"genetics" should be "generics"...

Though I presume it is readailly apparent to the reader skilled in the art what I meant :-)

Kalvis Jansons said...

I would not dismiss the PPUK so quickly. There is more sense in what they are saying than many here seem to realize.

If there is enough support for PPUK, things would have to change. So, I guess, it is wait and see!

wassname said...

You mentioned evidence of patents stifling innovation, and it turns out there is a lot of research. This kind of research easily overrides the simplified logic that the patent system rewards inventors and hence encourages innovation.

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