Would you vote for the Pirate Party?

August 12, 2009

The Pirate Party, which originated in Sweden, is now a registered political party in Britain and set to run candidates in the next general election.  Its aim is to reform copyright law, abolish the patent system and ensure privacy rights for all citizens.

The party, with branches in more than 25 countries, argues that file-sharing and peer-to-peer networking should be encouraged rather than criminalized, based on the idea that “the Internet could become the greatest public library ever created.”

Combatting  levels of surveillance and control put in place by governments in response to the 9/11 attacks in New York are also top of the agenda.

The party wants to introduce an alternative to pharmaceutical patents throughout Europe that it says will save on drug costs to governments.

Would you vote for the Pirate Party in a general election?

19 comments

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Two schools of thought on this for me: Firstly, it is brilliant to see new political parties with real political agendas rather than those who are looking to line their own pockets. A refreshing change and it should be encouraged.

Secondly, it is a futile attempt to rationalise/legalise theft. The writers of our music deserve to compensated and these P2P networks are simply stealing someone else’s creativity. Slapping a ‘respectable’ political party round it is no different to the BNP wrapping up racism and racial hatred under the guise of a proper political group.

Either way, in British politics it will be othing more than an interesting experiment to see if a party can motiveate and mobilise the internet communities into voting. It can only be a good thing, though I cannot see any candidate not losing their retainer.

Posted by Adam K | Report as abusive

If they also pledge that the scurvy dogs of Conservative and Labour will be keelhauled (and the BNP will be fed to sharks) then yes, they’ll get my vote.

Posted by Jim, Leeds | Report as abusive

I would be nice if at least one of the links in this article went to the Pirate Party UK, rather than the Swedish Party. The UK party is not a “branch” of the Swedish Party, and our policy on pharmaceutical patents is different because it takes account of the NHS.

In response to Adam K, it’s a common misconception that we want to ‘legalise theft’. We aim to reform copyright law so that artists benefit from the sale of their creative works, instead of the current system where the media cartel benefits. We are campaigning for a shorter copyright duration, and an exemption for file sharing where no money changes hands in order to remove the barriers to entry that stop talented artists from becoming successful without signing 95-100% of their revenue away.

Just like sex, every generation believes it has discovered subsidy, and believes that it is possible to build an economy based entirely on subsidy. Every generation has been wrong – and unfortunately for mankind many of those generations have had to discover the hard way that they are wrong. It would be a tragedy for us to have to repeat the experiment yet again.

Whether you accept that subsidy is legalised theft, or believe that it isn’t, or accept that it is but pretend to believe that it isn’t, is really irrelevant. What makes these people dangerous is not what they believe, but what they want to try.

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

Great news! It’s about time the copyright debate is taken out of the hands of lobbyists and into the public domain. Having said that, I’m not entirely convinced that starting from a P2P sharer’s perspective opens up the best possible debate – this only gives ammunition to people who like to frame sharing as theft (as the first commenter).

YES, creative people should be rewarded for their efforts. NO, people should not be overcharged for enjoying the fruits of aforementioned creators’ labour, just because someone thought it opportune to “buy the rights for the next 70 years” to them.

The standard economics argument, “if people really want something they’ll pay for it”, only applies if there is a well-functioning market for these goods, allowing for competition on all fronts (quality, copyright limitations, price, etc). Does this market exist? Who knows. Isn’t it a far more noble or ‘socially optimal’ goal to maximise information and knowledge sharing, whilst ensuring the creators of said information are appropriately rewarded? I think so.

Posted by Jay | Report as abusive

The way I see it simple solution just incorperate a small charge
in the service providers cost to access the Internet that way everyone
pays p2p can carry on no one loses out simple

Posted by Nigel smith | Report as abusive

I’m somewhat surprised that the focus of many of these comments has been on copyright law reform as opposed to limiting the increasing levels of surveillance in our society. Both in my view are admirable goals but I would personally consider the latter to be of far greater importance. It is for that reason that I will be looking to vote Pirate.

The current government seem to have no idea about the complexities of the internet and indeed the concept of digital media (Phorm trials, DPI at ISP’s, age rating’s for websites etc…). The opposition appear to be in the same position.

Posted by John from Coventry | Report as abusive

I’m for the party for one reason, they’ll bring debate to the situation. I saw one of their spokesman on sky news explaining that the immediate goals are to bring an equal and fair debate to a polarized argument.

I may not want an abolished patent system, but the debate will be interesting.

Posted by thomas | Report as abusive

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggh. Yes! Without a doubt!

Posted by John Twillingham | Report as abusive

It’s about time we got the Pirate Party in the UK. It’s been very slim pickings for those of us on the techno side of things wanting a little more online freedom.

Posted by Jean Vitriol | Report as abusive

I’ll certainly vote for them!

The current government is trampling over our freedom online. I don’t see any reason to suspect that other mainstream parties will be much better. To me, and I suspect most young people, this is far more important than the miniscule differences and pointless policies of mainstream parties on most issues.

Posted by Nick | Report as abusive

They have my vote. I only wish that they had been on the ballot in the UK for the most recent EU elections.

Copyright law is in a terrible state. Among other things, the term is so long that it discourages production of further works.

Though the name is amusing, PPUK stands for a lot of issues that matter to young people, and those concerned about their digital rights. Privacy & electronic surveillance, patent and copyright reform, open & accessible government: all these are issues that really matter to many.

Let’s hope that they achieve some positive change.

Filesharing isn’t stealing that’s crazy is listening to the radio stealing? Something that can be replicated infinitely for free can not be compared to a physical object. Its illegal because its illegal, ok so make it legal. Of course there is an issue about how creative people earn a living but bare in mind in the past a musician was paid for playing music, an artist for painting a picture living off copyright proceeds is hardly a human right. I will certainly be voting pirate.

It’s amazing to me it’s taken so long to get the Pirate Party here. So glad to finally have an alternative to the “Big 3″ parties.

Posted by Jenson Baton | Report as abusive

Where do I sign up?

Posted by Suzanne | Report as abusive

This sounds like a very modern party with very modern ideas I would certainly vote for them considering the corruption in the other 3 parties

Posted by emma | Report as abusive

‘Filesharing isn’t stealing’

Exactly. It is amazing just how many people have difficulty understanding this. It’s just sad how many individuals in a capitalist society cannot understand a transaction that does not involve money.

As for rewarding the artists – the work is its own reward. If they’re only doing it for the money, they should go into banking instead.

The issue of filesharing is only a prelude to a much bigger issue that will arise once personal fabrication becomes a reality: the issue of intellectual property – or in other words, absentee ownership of ideas. Here again, the clash between the vested interests and the common man will have to be fought to the finish.

Posted by Arindam | Report as abusive

About time and it sounds excellent, I’M GOING TO SIGN UP RIGHT NOW!!

Posted by Mr Ronald R | Report as abusive

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Hey, any info on a branch in the US? All I could find was an out of date website that seems to be down all the time…thanks.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive