In an attempt to offer a better alternative to ACTA, Pirate Party MEP Christian Engstrom and founder Rick Falkvinge have released The Case For Copyright Reform – a 107-page e-Book expressing the party’s vision for reconciling copyright protection with digital sharing.
Founded in Sweden in 2006, the International Pirate Party have decided to take the bull by the horns, and came up with the clearest, most detailed statement on how the party plans to act on piracy issues.
While the proposal highlights that file-sharing’s growth cannot be stopped without monitoring private communication, thus “infringing on fundamental human rights”, the authors clarify that they don’t want to abolish copyright. Albeit digital rights management systems would be banned under the Pirate Party plan, copyright would continue to prevent people from legally making a profit from the works of others. Non-commercial copying and use would be made completely legal; and to make things clear on the meaning of copyright Ekstrom and Falvinge agree that people could once copy a poem or dub a cassette and send it to a friend without punishment.
In addition, to make the boundaries for sharing crystal clear, the authors suggest setting explicit guidelines for legal audio and visual sampling, similar to the kinds of established legal quotation rights for text. Copyright protection would be cut from 70 years to 20 years from the time of publication. Furthermore, these copyrights would need to be renewed five years after publication “to allow orphaned works quick entry back into the public domain.”
The book also details on how current copyright laws meddle with technological and creative progress, as well as the freedom of private communication and due process. It further offers evidence from Norway and Sweden to show that artists can still make a living in a world where their works can be copied freely, by shifting to other revenue sources.
Perhaps this detailed book will help change the minds of some German intellectuals who, reportedly, have recently turned against the party.