Blackspot

Pirate Party Wins in EU

Is this the beginning of a brand liberation movement?

The brand liberation movement scored a major victory this week in Europe by gaining a seat in the European Union’s Parliament. With a final tally of 7.1% of Swedish votes, the Pirate Party is the world's first – and only – political party with a pro-piracy platform to win electoral legitimacy.

The official platform of the Swedish Pirate Party is threefold: 1) Reform copyright law by decriminalizing all noncommercial copying and publicly encouraging the use of peer-to-peer networks, 2) Abolish all patents and 3) Respect the right to privacy by putting an "emergency brake" on the increasing surveillance of citizens. On all other questions, the Swedish Pirate Party has chosen to remain neutral.

The victory of the Pirate Party is a cause for celebration because it’s a step toward an artistically freer and more creative society. But the pro-piracy movement is not enough on its own. We must also be concerned with who is producing culture along with the medium by which it is communicated. If we allow this nascent brand liberation movement to stand for nothing but the free exchange of information, it will be co-opted by mainstream politics, and ultimately, capitalism itself.

The Pirate Party is the first step toward a “Mental Environment Party,” whose platform is concerned with cleaning up our polluted mindscapes by revoking the right of corporations to speak. A step toward a full critique of consumer capitalism that sees advertising for what it is – pollution – while challenging society to reject the passive consumption of corporate financed culture in favor of the active creation of local meaning.

Micah White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters and an independent activist. He is writing a book on the future of activism. www.micahmwhite.com or micah (at) adbusters.org

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Comments on the article “Pirate Party Wins in EU”

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Anonymous

You're so right, Anonymous. I am a writer, I have earned a living at it for 20 years and I'm not rich. I depend on royalties to pay my rent and feed my children. If anyone can download my book "for free," how free is it when it's on someone else's back? Copyright by the way, has nothing to do with "ideas." Ideas are free for all. It is ridiculous to think ideas can be copyrighted. What IS copyrighted is how those ideas are translated into actual work, ie. a book, a widget, a piece of software. It is very short-sighted and childish to think that the "piracy" problems can be solved by abolishing copyright. Abolishing copyright just means creators have no incentive to create....ie. they will not be able to pay their rent or feed their children, ergo, they will not be able to create, they'll be too busy working for someone else--taking someone else's job, because before they had "created" their own employment.

Anonymous

You're so right, Anonymous. I am a writer, I have earned a living at it for 20 years and I'm not rich. I depend on royalties to pay my rent and feed my children. If anyone can download my book "for free," how free is it when it's on someone else's back? Copyright by the way, has nothing to do with "ideas." Ideas are free for all. It is ridiculous to think ideas can be copyrighted. What IS copyrighted is how those ideas are translated into actual work, ie. a book, a widget, a piece of software. It is very short-sighted and childish to think that the "piracy" problems can be solved by abolishing copyright. Abolishing copyright just means creators have no incentive to create....ie. they will not be able to pay their rent or feed their children, ergo, they will not be able to create, they'll be too busy working for someone else--taking someone else's job, because before they had "created" their own employment.

Anonymous

In response to Anonymous, "And what happens, then, when people stop buying art? When they stop purchasing a book because they can download it for free?" The people who download books for free, would be the ones who would be the most avid fans of the author of said books. Just like the patrons of libaries, where they can read books for free instead of purchasing them, they are usually the people who also buy most of the physical copies of the books. In addition to this, the pirate party is not against the current banning of books that are copyrighted, should you choose to do so, but are against the current copyright laws that cast a grey area over NON-copyrighted works of art (e.g. works by Shakespeare), especially over the much-maligned "peer-to-peer" networks that have been increasingly linked to the use of only stealing copyrighted works. In fact such "peer-to-peer" networks are also used as efficient distributors of legitimate non-copyrighted works of art such as open-source software (e.g. Linux distributions and well-known free applications such as OpenOffice.org [the open-source alternative to Microsoft Office] and GIMP[a free legal alternative to Adobe Photoshop]) However I agree with the poster below about "ideas" (i.e. patents) which should be taxable after say 10 years if nothing commercial/practical has been implemented or 15 years, and taxed progressively higher say $1000 for the first year and ten times that for every new year. That way useful patents that are used productively would turn a profit for the creator, which he or she can use to pay for the proposed patent taxes and if they are not useful after for example 15 years they are released into the public domain (as evidently the patent holders are not implementing the "ideas" well, or after their profits cannot sustained the growing patent taxes), so patent holders would get a nice profit if they have a great idea and implement it correctly (as the copyright laws originally intended), and if not (they can't implement it correctly and/or just patent holders in order to sue large companies when something similar is implemented when they themselves have not made anything practical and thus stifle creative works and innovation (which is against what copyright laws originally intended).

Anonymous

Not to forget: The German Pirate Party has one seat in Germany's national parliament (Bundestag) at the moment. That's because a MP left his original party to join the Pirates. But as there are elections this year, the seat will probably be lost.

Anonymous

Not to forget: The German Pirate Party has one seat in Germany's national parliament (Bundestag) at the moment. That's because a MP left his original party to join the Pirates. But as there are elections this year, the seat will probably be lost.

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