Tag Archives: copyright law

Pirate Party Gets a Seat in EU Parliament

Christian Engström will represent the Pirate Party in the EU Parliament starting next fall
Christian Engström will represent the Pirate Party in the EU Parliament starting next fall

The lately reported growth in number of the Sweden’s Pirate Party supporters showed in yesterday’s election for EU Parliament when their vote assured activist Christian Engström a seat in the European Parliament.

What triggered this growth in popularity was partly the verdict given against the four founders of The Pirate Bay (sentenced for a year in jail and fined millions), partly Swedish government’s enforcing of the Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED) back in April.

While not related to the Pirate Bay torrent site, the Pirate Party goal is to get internet file-sharing legalized and protect Internet users’ privacy online. The party’s agenda includes radical reform of copyright law, the discard of the patent system and guaranteed privacy rights on the web.

The party managed to take 7.1 percent of votes in Sweden and consequently won one of that country’s 18 seats in the European Parliament.

Wired.com has posted recently an interview with Christian Engström, who strongly believes that copyright legislation is turning into a real threat to privacy.

“If politicians want to prevent ordinary citizens from sharing files, they will constantly have to expand their ability to monitor,” Engström said in a telephone interview. “It’s necessary to reform the copyright legislation to ensure that citizens’ right to privacy is respected.”

New Zealand: Copyright Law Must Be Re-thought and Re-written

new-zealand-copyright-law-must-be-re-thought-and-re-writtenThe New Zealand’s efforts to implement a new file sharing law heated many debates in recent months in the country. The prospect of the infamous ‘three strikes’ rule being enforced was not received with much enthusiasm.

So, with many issues arising, the government has decided to rethink the whole matter before setting up a new legislation which in the world of copyright laws is pretty much without precedent. This is actually an A plus for the New Zealand authorities who seem two steps ahead of most governments stubbornly stuck in an out-of-date mentality:

The Copyright Act was written in the pre-internet age, and does not address any of the complexities surrounding file sharing, format shifting, and other modern issues such as DVD copying — problems the last government was attempting to fix in a piecemeal fashion.

However, the core of the matter regards the authors of the new law and things considered in the re-writing of it. Let’s just hope it will not be the record industry doing the rewriting or the legislation will spell draconic. The more things and interests (such as the public one for a change) are given consideration into creating it the more likely is that the new law could come closer to a real solution regarding file sharing and copyright issues.

Sweden Might Put an End to the Privacy of File Sharers

Bad news for Swedish file sharers. If in the past their privacy was safe from a police intervention and the minor pirates did not risk jail time this situation might take on a different face as a new proposal coming from the police force is waiting to be forwarded to the Minister for Justice Beatrice Ask on Friday.

As Dagbladet reports the legislation in question is rooted in the controversial Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED). If applied it would give police green light to retain email and phone call information and moreover they will be allowed home search.

Swedish Pirate Party Chairman Rick Falkvinge (photo right) who’s known for his stand against the IPRED law told TorrentFreak in an interview: “These laws are written by digital illiterates who behave like blindfolded, drunken elephants trumpeting about in an egg packaging facility. They have no idea how much damage they’re causing, because they lack today’s literacy: an understanding of how the Internet is reshaping the power structures at their core.”

Music Labels Claim Fees from Hotels and Prisons

Recording industry want to remove Ireland’s copyright exemption in court as sales drop

As CD sales decline dramatically while more people download music over the Web the record labels prove a rather “wicked” inventiveness in trying to make up for their alleged losses. Music companies have found another target to quench their thirst for lawsuits with and their everlasting need to find culprits for their bad business.

This time around the offender is none other than…the government, yeah, the government for giving hotels and prisons an exemption from royalties when they broadcast songs into bedrooms and cells.

Phonographic Performance Ireland (PPI), revenue collectors for the music industry, initiated the High Court proceedings just before Christmas. According to TimesOnline its purpose is to have part of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 declared in breach of European directives.
It seems that music industry executives want to establish a fee for bedrooms in hotels and it has come up with the suggestion of a weekly fee of €1 per room to cover royalties for music from CDs, TVs and radios.

The music corporations went on claiming that, by exempting hotels from this fee, Ireland is asynchronous with Europe. “We believe the Irish government has erred in putting in an exclusion in the Copyright Act,” Dick Doyle, PPI chairman pointed out. “In nearly every other jurisdiction in Europe, music played in bedrooms has to be licensed.”

The Irish Hotel Federation (IHF) made no comment to this. Hotels as well as nightclubs have been involved in a prolonged legal fight over royalties paid for playing music.

Sweden’s Pirate Party: High Hopes for the Upcoming Elections

Swedish Pirate Party seems to be quite confident in its chances to the 2009 European Parliament elections. As TorrentFreak points out more than half of all Swedish men under 30 are likely to vote for them.

The website for the Pirate Party was opened on January 1, 2006 (at 20.30 CEST), starting the foundation of the party and apparently the Internet is accountable for the increase of its membership by 50 percent during the last quarter, beating that of the recognized Green Party. “We couldn’t have done this without the dialog infrastructure that the Net provides. Oldmedia has lost control of the discourse,” Swedish Pirate Party Leader Rick Falkvinge stressed out.

Although most people involved in mainstream media received the foundation of this new party three years ago as a bunch of Swedish file sharers having nothing better to do but forming their own political party, now as the government is struggling to enforce stringent copyright laws and others that may be labeled as a serious threat the privacy of the average Swedish, the Pirate Party is starting to get considerable acknowledgement and recognition.

In order to assure itself a seat for the upcoming European election, the Pirate Party needs 100,000 Swedish to vote for them, something which is totally achievable given the present political environment in the country. Falkvinge showed enthusiasm in his comments for the future: “We need to grow by another 50%, counting from the Swedish election two years ago, to get seats in the EU parliament and shake the political copyright world at its core. It’s hard, it’s supposed to be hard, but the numbers show we can do it. We can do this, and the charts are going stratospheric.”

Introduction to Politics and Principles

The Pirate Party wants to fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens’ rights to privacy are respected. With this agenda, and only this, we are making a bid for representation in the European and Swedish parliaments.

Not only do we think these are worthwhile goals. We also believe they are realistically achievable on a European basis. The sentiments that led to the formation of the Pirate Party in Sweden are present throughout Europe. There are already similar political initiatives under way in several other member states. Together, we will be able to set a new course for a Europe that is currently heading in a very dangerous direction.

The Pirate Party only has three issues on its agenda: Reform of copyright law, An abolished patent system, Respect for the right to privacy.