Tag Archives: The Pirate Party

Copyright Platform Offered By European Pirate Party

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.

German Voters Are Pro Pirates

We’ve recently reported how a German Pirate Party had won Berlin’s state elections; recent events show that their success didn’t stop there. A fresh from the oven poll shows that the Pirates would easily win seats in the German Parliament if federal elections were held today.

The party was founded back in 2006 and followed the example of their older brother – The Swedish Pirate Party. Germany’s Black Flaggers plead for the shortening of the duration of copyright protection and the right to share noncommercial digital works. They also agree on the need for a better privacy protection, on limiting the patent system, on eradicating data retention laws and cut-short government surveillance legislation as well as legalizing marijuana and making city metros and buses free.

The poll we’ve mentioned before was undertaken by RTL and news magazine Stern and says that 7% of the surveyed people would definitely vote for the Pirates if elections were held this day, thus placing the party on par with the socialist Left party.

Although the German Pirate Party was inspired by their Swedish homologues, they’re attitude towards the entertainment industry is less hostile. For example, the Scandinavian group decided to host Pirate Bay on its own server after their former ISP dropped down on them and forced them offline.

Ben de Biel, spokesperson for the German Pirates, said that this is not what they would do.

“The dumbest thing you could do is make a legally questionable decision that could lead to a very negative result,” he said.
He also said that the group is concerned with the monopoly set by the entertaining industry and pin-points the fact that the party’s focus is not set on propaganda vis-à-vis illegal downloading.

Mr. Ben, who’s also a Berlin club owner and photographer, explains that the party’s position on issues of copying, file-sharing and noncommercial use of digital works is closely related to its goal of free transfer of information from scientific research and technology that benefits on the funds of taxpayers. He adds that government’s funding in science and medicine usually benefits private companies more than society and that they hope to change that.

Shed no fear, he addresses to the entertaining industry.

“We are not a leftist party. We think pragmatically. We have companies of our own and, like filmmakers, we create content that we also want to sell and make a living from.”

The local industry reactions were thus far positive.

“I have not really heard any representative of the Pirate Party condone illegal piracy of copyrighted material,” says Martin Moszkowicz, head of film and TV at Constantin Film.

“Part of the party’s program is to change copyright and intellectual property laws into a so-called ‘modern knowledge society.’ I am personally curious how that (would) actually work and what business models the party has in mind — but so far I have not heard anything constructive.”

Senator Entertainment CEO Helge Sasse said:

“I’m not of the opinion that the Pirate Party people really want films to be illegally copied under the current law,” Sasse says. “If that were the case, our view would be that that is simply not possible, and we would take action against it.”

De Biel highlights the inability of the entertainment industry to adapt with the new market tendencies and new technologies, fact that has only helped with the expansion of piracy.

“It’s a situation that has developed because the music and film industries were not quick enough to understand where the market was going. We don’t want people not earning money for their work. We want to make things more transparent. We may end up destroying some business models when people realize that there are other ways of doing business. Ultimately the customer will decide.”

“Facebook” For Movies

“Linking is Not a Crime” campaign kicked off in late July as a sign of protest regarding a high school student being fined 5 million euros for offering links to copyrighted material. Through this campaign the Czech Pirate Party launched two movie download portals, offering links without hosting the provided data.

The teenager we mentioned before is only 16 years old and lives in Liberec; accused by the Czech Anti-Piracy Union for providing links to copyright material he’s now eligible to pay no less than 5 million euros in damage. As a result, the Pirate Party decided to open yet another portal, this time called Moviehome or “Facebook for movies” as the Party calls it.

“Sharing of links is a principle without which the Internet would cease to function,” says Pirate Party chairman Ivan Bartoš. “Therefore we’re systematically fighting against the criminalization of linking.”

Talking to TorrentFreak, the Party’s vice-president Mikuláš Ferjencik said:

“The Czech anti-piracy union does not know what to do, they’re probably focusing on the court action with the Liberec student, with the hope that they might claim that all our websites are illegal. They also do not want to give us publicity and they do not have much to say about it really as our sites actually are legal.”

He added that Moviehome will have the Party’s support as long as it maintains its non-profit status.

“As a party, we do not want to depend on the finances from web advertising that’s why all of our linking sites are strictly non-commercial. On the other hand, I must emphasize that there’s nothing wrong about running commercial linking websites, after all Google and Seznam.cz have been doing this for a long time.”

Launching three file-sharing related websites in over a month is quite an accomplishment for Czech Pirates but it does not mean that this will be the last we hear of them.

“We will back anyone with a similar project who asks for our support,” Ferjencik explains. He’s also sent an open invitation to The PirateBay to make use of Czech hosting if legal matters should force them to do so.

“We’ll also consider suing ourselves to get it to court before the Liberec case is over, but my flatmates are not in a mood for a police visit yet, so it will have to wait for a while,” Ferjencik adds.

Furthermore, along with the three Czech sites comes the Pirate Party Canada’s Travis McCrea’s site, Tormovies.org.

“We cannot lose this war,” says Ferjencik.

“In the unlikely case that the court ‘says linking is a crime’, the public uproar will get us into parliament. People hate it when they lose rights they already had, especially when they fought hard to obtain them.

People did not carry out the revolution in 1989 to see students paying millions of Euros for helping others to share information.”

FileSharing Cannot Be Made into a Religion, Sweden Says

Sweden and file-sharing have appeared in the same sentence almost…religiously due to, of course, The Pirate Bay, then the Pirate Party, and mostly, due to issues brought about by the two.

Back in April Sweden saw a new challenge in this direction – that of a new religion emerging – Kopimism. The one who had the initiative to turn file-sharing into a religion was 19-year-old Swedish philosophy student Isaac Gerson.

But now the sacredness of sharing files has been categorically refuted by Swedish officials. The Swedish Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency said no to the attempt of the Pirate Party of Uppsala to register the copying and spreading of information as a religious faith. UPI reports:

Apparently, the principles, motifs and belief system stated by The Missionary Church of Kopimism on its website did not manage to persuade authorities:

A religion is a belief system with rituals.
The missionary kopimistsamfundet is a religious group centered in Sweden who believe that copying and the sharing of information is the best and most beautiful that is. To have your information copied is a token of appreciation, that someone think you have done something good.

* All knowledge to all
* The search for knowledge is sacred
* The circulation of knowledge is sacred
* The act of copying is sacred.

All people should have access to all information produced. A gigantic Boosting Knowledge for humanity.

Throughout history, various groups around the world have been persecuted by oppressors. It has since taken refuge in religion and wanted a peaceful coexistence. Without threats and harassment.

In our belief, communication is sacred. Communication needs to be respected. It is a direct sin to monitor and eavesdrop on people.

The absolute secrecy is holy in the church of kopimism.

In the individual pastoral care and confession with the kopimist priests (the Ops), priests are protected under Swedish law by an absolute professional secrecy.
Copyright Religion is our absolute opposite – Ongoing obstruction of copying.

We challenge all copyright believers – most of which have a great deal of influence in politics, and who derive their power by limiting people’s lives and freedom. What they most of all want to limit the knowledge. We need to steel ourselves for their hatred and aggression.

– Copy. download, uplooad!
– All knowlegde to all!
– Information technology is not to be feathered by laws.

The news of rejection disappointed Gerson who commented:

“It feels bitter. Last time we applied there were valid reasons for their rejection. We’ve had a dialogue with them since then, and sent in a new application with changes based on this dialogue,” he said. “So it feels rough not to know why we were rejected.”

Pirate Party: A Call to Arms

The Pirate Party (formed to defend people’s rights on the internet) hopes to take a stand against the copyright law programmed to be launched in September.

In order to send out infringement notices, copyright holders may have to pay $2, according to a discussion document issued by The Economic Development Ministry.

Tommy Fergusson – a 22 year old Auckland engineer and the president of Pirate Party – said that out of 500 needed members (in order to contest November’s party vote) 64 already signed only with the help of social networking – Facebook and Twitter – and “word of mouth”.

“We think we have got a good chance of being registered for the election.”

The 5% threshold consisted in getting a list party candidate elected, despite the “strength of feeling” on copyright reforms, he added.

“But if we can get acknowledged as having a certain level support, as the German Pirate Party and some others have, it might send enough of a message that other people might start taking an interest and acting on our concerns. It also means any submissions we make to select committees will have a greater weight.”

The party is one of 18 pirate parties affiliated to Pirate Parties International.

Sweden’s Pirate Party won two seats in elections to the European Parliament and 7.1% of the country’s popular vote back in 2009. However, in the general election that took place in the same year they dropped to 0.65%.

On the German side, Piraten won 43 council seats and took 2% in Germany’s federal election in 2009.”We want a law that is more in favour of consumers, but we wouldn’t abolish copyright”, Fergusson said.

Starting with September, thanks to the Amendments found in the Copyright Act, users may be fined up to $15.000 by the Copyright Tribunal for copyright infringement material(s) such as pirated music and videos. Moreover, if an internet address is identified, right holders can make ISPs send out infringement notices to their customers and supply their details to the tribunal after a third warning.

Tony Eaton, chief executive of the New Zealand branch of the Motion Picture Association, NZFact, said the fees right holders would have to pay to ISPs in order to do their bidding would be critical in determining the extent to which they used the new enforcement regime. ISPs’ opinion is that rights holders should pay between $14 and $56 per notice.

The ministry does not support this, saying that the charges should be applied only for the ongoing costs they incurred sending out notices.

“The range of notice fee estimates would be between $2 and $28”, he said.

Also, the ministry is debating whether there should be a linear fee for these notices or if ISPs should charge less for the initial detection notices first sent to illegal sharers and more for subsequent “warning” and “enforcement” notices.

President Charlie Boyd (Internet Service Providers Association) replies:

“There are real costs. It is not like we are trying to make a buck out of this. You have got to build systems and processes and employ people to monitor what is happening here. We are not having a laugh, it is real cost and if you are a small provider you have got the same costs as the big guys.”

Of course the big issue is that of the money – namely, how it should be calculated the amount  owed to the copyright holders; the ministry has a rather extravagant (to say the least) view on the matter – in their opinion, the amount would be  the total from: compensation for the rights owner for their loss of revenue, the reimbursement of the fees they spent with infringement notices, the costs derived from filling the lawsuit, and, additionally, an amount that would act as a “deterrent” and would be dictated by the “flagrancy of the infringement”.

“While flagrancy is partly determined on whether the infringer was aware they were infringing, the tribunal would also be able to consider … if the infringer was deliberately sharing a large number of works [and] whether the work was uploaded or downloaded.”