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Pirate Party UK Looks Forward To 2012 116

Posted by timothy
from the gentrification-or-just-savvy dept.
Ajehals writes "The UK Pirate Party New Years message suggests a new sense of direction for the party, with a focus on policy and politics beyond what was seen as the party's norm, single issue position of copyright reform. Hoping to learn from and emulate the German Pirate Party's success in Berlin, Partly Leader Loz Kay is looking back over 2011 and to the future." I'm a slow learner; the Pirate Party for years struck me as mostly whimsical. If you live in a country with an active Pirate Party, what do you think of its impact? (According to Wikipedia, there are now PP organizations in at least 40 countries.)
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Pirate Party UK Looks Forward To 2012

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Things only get better for the Pirate Parties all over the world. Technology evolves a lot faster than the means to control information.

    Getting more laws to control society is wrong, but I guess the Americans and other SOPA adopters will find that out the hard way.

    • maybe not... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kristian T. (3958)

      Judging from the praise given to walled garden environments, like Apples app-store, I not so sure we can depend on technology to automatically free us from monitoring and control, by either government or big corp. However, such a fringe openion will never stand a chance in the 2 party systems of the US and UK. Even in the multiparty systems of continental Europe, the PP will struggle at elections, if it does not adopt some policy on mainstream subjects like employment and healthcare. Of course those passion

      • Re:maybe not... (Score:5, Informative)

        by coolmadsi (823103) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @07:28AM (#38620572) Homepage Journal

        However, such a fringe openion will never stand a chance in the 2 party systems of the US and UK.

        There are 3 main parties in the UK (not 2, although two are larger than the other one). There are also a number of smaller parties that do get a few seats at elections, particularly for Wales and Scotland. That doesn't mean it is easy for a smaller party to get a seat, however.

  • Whats in a name? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spottywot (1910658) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @04:49AM (#38620048)
    I was very impressed with the German Pirate Parties success last year, but if the UK PP wants to emulate it then it needs to be more vocal, and on a wider range of topics. If they don't they'll never get the attention of anyone who isn't already passionate about copyright abuses, or the attention of any part of the UK electorate that automatically dismiss the party because of the fact they have Pirate in thier name.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by DNS-and-BIND (461968)
      If they do that then they're no longer the Pirate Party, they're just another crap political party doing crap stuff and making crap deals to stay in power. They'll become what they despise.
      • by Spottywot (1910658) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @06:18AM (#38620342)

        If they do that then they're no longer the Pirate Party, they're just another crap political party doing crap stuff and making crap deals to stay in power. They'll become what they despise.

        Taking an interest in important issues other than copyright makes them crap and corrupt instantly? Wow.

        • by Hentes (2461350)

          It will sure divide their voterbase. It would also ruin the internationality of Pirate Parties if they weren't just defenders of internet freedoms but started to mess with national politics.

          • by muuh-gnu (894733)

            If the pirate parties are insignificant nationally, they'll also be insignificant internationally. Their internationality wont get them any say in either national or international politics. They have to get stable power in their own nations to make a change.

            > It will sure divide their voterbase.

            To make a change, you have to get big. A united voterbase wont help them to get there if it is not big enough.

            > if they weren't just defenders of internet freedoms

            They are not internet freedom defenders per se,

          • One other commonality is going for the reason that the copyright lobby can keep buying legislation - the corrupting influence of the lobbyist system and the way government keep stuff hidden. Ie following in Lessig's footprints.

        • by gwolf (26339)

          The Pirate Party's agenda is clear: Their main aim is to work against the IP nonsense. The name clearly says that's the main policy they are pushing to change. No, I would not say that just "taking interest" in other issues makes them crap and corrupt (as legislators, they'd have to take a stand on different issues and vote on all kinds of topics), but it would dillute their strong standing.
          I live in Mexico. Formally, there is a national Pirate Party organization - AFAICT, it's just a couple of enthusiasts,

      • Not really. For example, in the last election I complained about the fact that the Pirate Party didn't, for example, propose that the BBC would be required to open its archives decades of taxpayer-funded shows for free download and require any future taxpayer-funded creative works to be released under a license at least allowing free redistribution within the UK. After the election, it turned out that this was one of their policies. But, even though I'm probably well in their target demographic, I had no

        • by Ajehals (947354)
          The issue that the party has is that it's small, has a limited number of activists and was scrambling somewhat in terms of political direction and understanding the process up until a few months ago. The way the party has been fixing that is by sorting the admin (new leadership team came in and fixed it..), getting some structure in place (candidate selection, policy process, even thins like web infrastrucutre and dev..) and building the people who can talk to the press to do so. The party didn't have a pr
      • by I_Voter (987579)
        DNS-and-BIND wrote: If they do that (support multiple issues) then they're no longer the Pirate Party,

        Actually that is a good tactic. Most nations, other than the U.S., allow private member-based political party organizations to have control of the politicians that want to run under the parties ballot label. This allows enforceable party platforms.

        Copyright issues may not be the primary issue for a large number of voters, although they may be friendly or a least neutral. These voters can be encoura
      • by Ajehals (947354)
        The problem really is two edged. If the party doesn't approach other issues, the ones everyone feels is important, no-one would vote for the party. This is the largest criticism the party see's, 'how can we vote for you, even if we support your ideas on copyright, civil liberties etc.. if you don't have any policies on education/health/the economy'. So it's time to see if we can find policies that makes sense given the ideals and principles that inform our positions on copyright. Our candidates have theo
    • by nzac (1822298) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @06:12AM (#38620320)

      No PP stands a chance under a FPP system, they would just split the Lib-Dem (or whatever the closest politically is) voters. Its bey

      Germany has a proportional system* that gives their PP a chance. Winning close to a majority of the population (of a region) for a seat is hard when less than half have any understanding of the issue.

        *i assume it was for that election

    • The Pirate Party is totally irrelevant.

      • by ae1294 (1547521)

        The Pirate Party is totally irrelevant.

        Why?

    • by Patch86 (1465427) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @07:07AM (#38620486)

      Unfortunately a British Pirate Party is unlikely to ever do as well as their counterparts in Germany. Not due to British political attitudes, but due to our electoral system. With our FPTP system, they will be unable to elect any MPs to parliament unless they can get several dozen thousand votes in a single constituency (average of about 70,000 voters per constituency). They need to be number 1 in a race already crammed with popular mainstream parties.

      More hope for MEPs (which are elected more proportionally), but then MEPs aren't exactly influential...

      • by coolmadsi (823103)

        With our FPTP system, they will be unable to elect any MPs to parliament unless they can get several dozen thousand votes in a single constituency (average of about 70,000 voters per constituency). They need to be number 1 in a race already crammed with popular mainstream parties.

        In my current constituency, the winner won with less than 35% of the vote, with under 15,000 votes, so it may be possible to make an impact in hotly contested areas. Maybe not straight away, but even taking votes away from the larger parties will start to get some notice.

        • by nzac (1822298)

          In my current constituency, the winner won with less than 35% of the vote, with under 15,000 votes, so it may be possible to make an impact in hotly contested areas. Maybe not straight away, but even taking votes away from the larger parties will start to get some notice.

          Meanwhile they are taking votes from the party that is closest to their political views (i'm guessing its Lib-Dem*) hurting their (the PP's) cause.

          • by mjwalshe (1680392)
            the libdems are on the way out the condem collation will kill their traditional vote at the next election - the hard liberals IE traditional 18th century liberals and not American liberals) will get a safe seat or get bunged into the lords as a thank you.
      • They should do it Ali G style. Go on debates with the other candidates and accuse them all of equine oral sex. The vast majority of accusations will be entirely accurate too - the only question is, how many of the candidates would flinch...

    • The German Pirates *are* trying to broaden their base by establishing their standpoint on other issues. They were amazed by how much of the vote they got in that Berlin election, amazed and unprepared.

      The way things work in Germany is that parties put up a list of candidates, and the voters do their thing. There are two different ways of handling this:

      • you get (say) 30 votes and can give candidates a maximum of three. A candidates' position on the list is determined by the number of votes they got as an
  • The Conservatives in Canada might qualify. It's been all down hill for everyone but their friends since they took over.
    • by Pompz1 (1940858)
      There is an actual Canadian Pirate Party http://www.pirateparty.ca/ [pirateparty.ca] And personally, i think they could make a huge statement in Canadian politics, with enough support.
      • by MachDelta (704883)

        Unfortunately it would just further split the left vote.

        We're well on our way to being a two party nation anyways. With the right consolidated it's really only a matter of time before the left decides something drastic needs to happen - especially considering the recent surprise-inversion of the Liberals and NDP.

  • by Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @05:41AM (#38620222)

    Per their UK manifesto:

    Copyright should give artists the first chance to make money from their work, however that needs to be balanced with the rights of society as a whole.

    As someone not generally affected by copyright issues, can they explain to me what benefits there are to society of reforming copyright? Tangible, measurable benefits.

    Society should be about more than pop music and blockbuster films. Frankly the Pirate Party has to convince me that laws which deter people from sharing such things are actually bad. Perhaps they are actually a positive influence because they nudge people into doing something productive instead of passively consuming. Maybe someone decided to go outside and play football with their kids because they couldn't find a copy of a film to download; in that instance, society benefits.

    Do I care that Cliff Richard's recordings won't reach the public domain in my lifetime? Not at all. Society will continue with or without music.

    Do I care that public forests and parks are being sold-off? Absolutely, as that directly affects our society.

    • by julesh (229690) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @05:54AM (#38620256)

      Copyright reform isn't really about pirating copies of the latest blockbuster film. Frankly, that'll be pretty-much unaffected by any proposed changes to copyright. The real issues lie elsewhere, which is why "pirate party" is a *really* bad name for this group. I really think they ought to agree on a different name that puts the emphasis on the groups of people who *would* benefit from their proposals (mostly, "pirates" wouldn't).

      Principally, the benefits are:

      1. Consumer rights. Copyright is currently used as a means to enable the media companies to sell the same thing multiple times, because they want to keep getting revenue. But this comes at the expense of inconveniencing the people who legitimately have a right because they've bought it the first time. CDs that can't be ripped to people's preferred playback devices. Broadcast TV that has copy-protection flags that stop recorders working (which isn't advertised ahead of time, and most people just put down to faulty recorders when they fail to work, so people end up missing content they've paid for and have a right to see). Ebooks that can't be read by book-to-voice software because their DRM isn't licensed for it. Films that can't be played on hardware that is technically capable of it because one link in the chain doesn't have an approved encryption key. Lack of ability to view content on open platforms. Libraries that are unable to duplicate digital content for preservation. Legally-protected DRM is a huge pain to many users of content whose use *should* be legal.

      2. Artist's rights. It is becoming more and more common for artists to find themselves under legal threat for such issues as "unconscious copying", "stealing ideas" and similar. Yet copying has always been part of how we produce art, and these legal cases threaten to subvert that, holding up the development of new art.

      • by mounthood (993037)

        The real issues lie elsewhere, which is why "pirate party" is a *really* bad name for this group. I really think they ought to agree on a different name that puts the emphasis on the groups of people who *would* benefit from their proposals (mostly, "pirates" wouldn't).

        Using the name "Pirate" is an attempt to reclaim it from the haters, like "Gay", "Nerd" or "Nigger", although those are often still used as pejoratives. Industry, government and the media happily call them "Pirates", abusing language to their advantage, just like they say "Stealing" instead of copyright violation, implying criminal action instead of civil and per-judging the morality. By calling themselves the Pirate Party the negative implications are directly challenged. Maybe in England they should call

    • Because often times culture is a much better reflection of history than a textbook could ever be, and needs to be shared so we can not repeat the mistakes of the past by helping make a real connection to the past.

      Case in point, Bill Hicks'(RIP) rants on the Iraq war. As someone who was only in elementary school when the first Iraq war happened, I really only had a very elementary grasp on the situation(didn't help that i lived in an arch-Republican school district and we were essentially fed propaganda).
      • Flash forward to late 2002 and the chicken hawks are on the march again, there attempts to silence the opposition was to shout "we support the troops" and basically insinuate that if you are against the war, you want all American soldiers to die.

        Note more history - many people think this, because it was a fairly common theme during the latter part of the Vietnam era, when soldiers were being spit on by the civilians at home (literally, in some cases, when they came home).

        Hate the politicians for playing wa

        • Hate the politicians for playing war, don't hate the soldiers who are required to fight them....

          That seems to be a key debate amongst antiwar activists - whether the average soldier is a victim or a perpetrator.
          Maybe it depends on the particular person involved - their reasons for going in and how they act once in service

          • I'd say it's simple: draftees should be honored, they didn't get a choice. Anybody who volunteers to go kill people deserve no respect at all in my book.

            But I will still say the assholes who sent them deserve even less.

            Granted I may be on the extreme side - but I grew up in a country mid-in a secret war that was fought with drafted soldiers - I know what it's like to live in a nation where 80% of the adult men I know are PTSD sufferers largely untreated (because the military taught them only faggots go to s

            • Considering Milgram and other such experiments on authority, it does make sense to place more blame on the higher-ups.
              Nuremberg says that following orders is not an excuse, but note that those on trial at Nuremberg were some of the highest-ranking Nazis. Also, the SS was declared a criminal organization, but Waffen-SS draftees were excluded from that classification. (Yes, a Godwin, but an on-topic one)

              Maybe you can't blame everybody who believes propaganda, but you can blame those who have it made. (whether

    • Their copyright and patent stance is also something that is preventing myself from taking them seriously - the market for personal entertainment is absolutely huge, so allowing copying where there is no financial incentive will have a not insignificant impact on the economy. However honourable their position might be, I disagree with it.

      Their stance on drug patents is also a bit disconnected - sure, they say they will replace the pharmaceutical industries 15% of R&D investment with 20%, in exchange for

      • The pharmaceutical claims that their 15% R&D gives them the right to all of the profits of a medicine and they use the law to sell it at a an inflated price. They even refuse to sell medicines to some countries because they can't afford these prices.

        The remaining 85% of the R&D is done by universities who are paid for by public money. It stands to reason that 85% of the profits should go back to the public/state. Furthermore, there is pressure on universities to get external funding. This typically

        • is why so many researchers are working on 'luxury' diseases instead of the disease that decimate the third-world, even in universities that should do fundamental research.

          While I agree to your general sentiment, I am not convinced about this.

          Many, if not most, of the diseases that cause large amount of suffering and deaths in the thrid world, are cureable with known science. That's why we don't have them in the first world. And it is not exactly rocket science either. DDT, mosquito nets and good draining w

          • I'm not about to get AIDS because somebody in the supermarket coughed 10 feet (3 meters) away from me. Almost nobody gets it from mosquito bites. It isn't spread by shaking hands. I won't get it from tap water. Uh, why are we wasting money on this?

            Meanwhile, tuberculosis is becoming extremely resistant to every antibiotic. There are mosquito-borne diseases right here in the USA that will make your brain swell up and bleed. An amoeba can survive tap water chlorination, get up into your nose, and then from th

          • >And it is not exactly rocket science either. DDT, mosquito nets and good draining will go a long way against malaria.

            Mmm, DDT....
            Sure, because generations of children born with massive birth defects is a much smaller problem than malaria right ?
            After all, it's black people whose gonna notice right ?

            Fucking idiots... no DDT is NOT a solution. I may have had some sympathy if you said "short term DDT, eradicate it once, as soon as you have a malaria-free human population for one generation the mosquitos ca

    • Go find a list of books and movies that didn't survive to the end of their respective copyright. Not only they won't reach the public domain in your lifetime, they won't reach public domain ever, period. Because there's no copy left to read or view and copy. There's your tangible, measurable benefit.

      And to address your claim that art doesn't matter, it does. Art shapes our view of the world. It makes us think about possibilities we wouldn't think about otherwise. Just try to notice how many concepts you thi

    • From a strictly economical point of view:
      Way to much time and energy is spent on restricting the usage of culture. It does not make sense to spend money on protecting works for over a hundred years if most of them don't bring in any revenue.

      Not being able to reuse once cultural heritage also raises the barrier for new artists to enter the market, especially in the world of electronic music. Most musicians don't have the resources to validate every sample.
      Furthermore, the artists that do enter the market wil

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Less money is spent on things that doesn't need work better for everyone, don't you think ? Let's say, I give 10 euros for person workin in bar, I give in in part for products made with hard work and part in service and I feel it is ok. I give 10 euros for CD is not exactly the same no matter how professonaly it is made, not after million copies, you are paying more than it is worth and it is no good for society to pay more for things than their worth ? It is exactly same reason why banks that has right to

    • Society should be about more than pop music and blockbuster films. Frankly the Pirate Party has to convince me that laws which deter people from sharing such things are actually bad. Perhaps they are actually a positive influence because they nudge people into doing something productive instead of passively consuming. Maybe someone decided to go outside and play football with their kids because they couldn't find a copy of a film to download; in that instance, society benefits.

      Do I care that Cliff Richard's recordings won't reach the public domain in my lifetime? Not at all. Society will continue with or without music.

      Well, music and the arts in general are part of human life. Living for the sake of living is pointless, for a human being. Moreover, pop music is not the only art that is affected by copyright - literature is, as well, as well as all other kind of music (including classical, Jazz, Rock, etc.), visual arts, films and so on. And moreover, copyrights affect the sciences as well. I can't tell you how many times I felt hatred towards the institution of copyrights, when I had to give up copyrights to my scientifi

    • by rohan972 (880586)

      As someone not generally affected by copyright issues, can they explain to me what benefits there are to society of reforming copyright? Tangible, measurable benefits.

      As the printing press and industrial age was the basis of a massive increase in wealth over the agrarian age, so the information age is a an increase of wealth over the industrial age. Copyright is affecting much more important things than the entertainment industries which I agree could disappear tomorrow without harm to society.

      Do you think we should have universal free education? Basic maths, such as learned in primary school, has not changed in the last hundred years yet if you have children you can

  • Pirate party France (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Yvanhoe (564877) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @05:42AM (#38620224) Journal
    In France the pirate party underwent a ridiculous war between two "factions" for several years. It has been reunited since several years but has been unable so far to present candidates in any major elections.

    European countries have different "details" in their election laws that make it easy or hard for small parties to be heard. For instance, in Germany, you receive public funds for your campaign when you reach 0.7% of votes. In France it is 5%.

    I think the most important vote for the French PP will be the European elections : this one has a proportional part. There are already , thanks to Sweden, several pirate European MPs and this election has the same rules everywhere. I hope we focus on it.
  • 1. There is a significant number of single-issue voters supporting a position
    2. None of the more mainstream parties will support that position.

    This is a clear case of both of those conditions being met. So long as both are true, a party will exist in one form or another.

    It's the same basic process that lets the BNP exist: Plenty of strongly anti-immigration voters, but none of the main parties willing to risk losing the minority votes or being branded as racist by even acknowledging the issue.
  • In Sweden (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sita (71217)

    In Sweden they have had no influence whatsoever. You could compare them to one of those facebook campaigns. People are willing to show their sympathy for the thought that "everything should be free" (its the beer part that matter to people, In Sweden, we are not so much in to liberties), as long as it is effortless and doesn't cost anything. At the end of the day, taxes, interest rates, unemployment and day care is what sets the agenda.

    Sure they did well in the EP elections, but that's only because the EP i

    • Really? How's this for influence. The PP of course has people in the European Parliament, which is indeed not a very important institution, but it does stand over the European Commission so it's not exactly a high-school council. Next, they did manage to have 7.1% of the vote in European Parliament elections, which is a number indicative of some actual support and not just a fad.

      Rick Falkvinge, basically an unknown guy a few years ago, has become prominent enough to be named one of the top global thinker [falkvinge.net]
    • You can't begin by saying that they have had no influence at all and then immediately go on to say that they have "vulgarized the debate" so much that politicians wouldn't even dare touch the issue. That's kind of impossible.

      I think you are wrong on both points. Both the green party and the left party now have stances on copyright that are very similar to the ones that the pirate party have propagated. The pirate party were also quite visible in the media at times, although I'm sure they were ignored by
      • Both the green party and the left party now have stances on copyright that are very similar to the ones that the pirate party have propagated.

        sounds like a fairly common minor party dynamic - even if not directly successful, a strong presence leads larger parties to adjust their positions accordingly.

    • by Ajehals (947354)
      >The bottom line is that the PP is not going anywhere as a political party until it has an opinion on day care. It is questionable whether it has it in itself of getting that, and if not it should stay out of election That is exactly that the party is doing now. The party has been through a number of elections and the people who involved themselves in those elections, the people from the party who were out on the ground either knew this already or learned rather quickly, it is also why the party is pus
  • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @07:23AM (#38620558) Homepage

    Their core issues have been under constant assault with harsher laws, less privacy and deterioration of due process. There's very little ground that's been gained, the question is how much more would have been lost without them. They've been in public debates, organized demonstrations, written opinion pieces for the papers and tried to influence other parties. The main battle has been for the public opinion, saying this is not wrong. This should not be illegal. It means a lot to have public faces saying that, a million people go speeding too but nobody stands up and says speed limits should be abolished. That it's not something you do just because you can get away with it, but that sharing is right.

    Lately here in Norway there's been a lot of articles saying in no unclear terms that the domestic book industry has purposely sabotaged the Norwegian eBooks. They've launched a service that's so poor, confusing and splintered that it's being called a planned failure. And of course, you won't find these books on international sites like Amazon, Apple etc. - it's their crappy "Book Cloud" or the paper edition. Did I mention that three companies own pretty much the whole domestic publishing industry and all the major bookshops? You wouldn't want to cut out the middle man when you are the middle man. What do I expect will fix it? Piracy. Lately piracy, not copyright has been the dominant source of innovation in the entertainment industry and they are dragged kicking and screaming along.

  • If they would change their name to the Privacy Party then they may find they do a lot better...

  • It does kinda make me wonder - if they have representation in forty countries, you'd think they'd be able to come up with some way to hack the political system in at least one.
  • Well in Germany... (Score:4, Informative)

    by w4rl5ck (531459) on Saturday January 07, 2012 @05:02PM (#38624686) Homepage

    ... they are scaring the hell out of the "old" partys after scoring about 9% or so on the Berlin city parliament vote (which is important as Berlin is a county).

    Especially the FDP, which traditionally has hold the position of "freedom rights", is below threshold now and in big trouble - and most voters either head for the green's or the pirates.

    It's quite obvious that in the current situation, they will make it into the nations parliament on the next voting round; considering how hard it already is to find coalition partners in the parliament right now, that will be a very interesting situation.

  • The alternative to looking forward to 2012 is looking back to 2012, which hardly seems appropriate seeing as we are only one week into the year.
  • I'm a member of Russian Pirate Party ( http://pirate-party.ru/ ). Of course it is not officially registered one, since until now regulations are rather tough for new party registration in Russia. One attempt was declined in 2011 with a reason given - "High Sea piracy is illegal in Russia".

    Official Powers in Russia are tolerant with PP agenda - one can remember famous Microsoft vs. school director Ponosov case (Putin sided in favour of Ponosov, who was acquitted eventually), Government Order No. 2299-p, that

    • by Kalriath (849904)

      Official Powers in Russia are tolerant with PP agenda - one can remember famous Microsoft vs. school director Ponosov case (Putin sided in favour of Ponosov, who was acquitted eventually)

      That's funny, I heard that Microsoft didn't want to prosecute, but the government said that because it was a criminal offense in Russia that not prosecuting wasn't an option. That doesn't sound like the government being tolerant with the Pirate agenda...

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