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  1. #1
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    The Pirate Party

    Some of you might be familiar with the political party known as The Pirate Party. For those of you who aren't, here's a quick introduction:


    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.
    You can find more information here.

    Anyway, what I wanted to write, was that The Pirate Party is making HUGE progress in Sweden. Did you know that the party now has 47204 members in Sweden? If I'm not mistaken, they are now the thirdest largest party in that country. (If one considers the amount of members, not voters.)

    They are also gaining in the polls, and this is sending shockwaves through the political establishment.

    Here's the International homepage of the party.

    I'm not affiliated with the party, but I thought it would be interesting for you to know.

  2. #2
    ELITE v85rawdeal's Avatar
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    And as a follow-up...

    The Pirate Party UK, which is dedicated to technology and copyright-law reform, has become an official political party.

    The party was registered by the Electoral Commission on Tuesday, the party's leader Andrew Robinson told ZDNet UK.

    "We're still in the early stages of forming the party," Robinson said on Thursday. "We're still very small." The UK organisation has around 250 active members, Robinson said.

    Electoral Commission registration allows the party to raise funds and list Pirate Party UK candidates at the next general election, which must take place before June 2010. Similar parties elsewhere have won election victories: the Swedish Pirate Party gained a seat in the European parliament in May, while the German Pirate Party has an elected MP.

    The Pirate Party UK intends to campaign before the next general election on issues such as patent and copyright reform, and freedom from excessive electronic surveillance.

    It is proposing an exemption from copyright law for non-commercial file-sharing, which is essentially an extension of fair use. Under UK copyright law, fair use allows organisations such as schools and news agencies to use parts of a copyrighted work.

    In May, government advisors estimated there were seven million file-sharers in the UK. The government's Digital Britain report, released in June, put forward a statutory maximum fine of 50,000 for copyright infringement.

    "The government is saying that there are seven million people that share files in Britain, and that file-sharers should be punished with a maximum fine of 50,000," said Robinson. "The fact that the government has threatened to bankrupt up to 10 percent of the population shows the need for a party that understands technology."

    The party will press for the length of the copyright on works to be reduced from the life of the owner plus 70 years to a shorter term, said Robinson. Its membership has not yet voted on what the shorter copyright term should be.

    One major campaign platform will be the reform of patent law to prevent one company building up significant market power in products such as medicines. "Monopolies maintained by companies producing life-saving drugs mean people are dying, as they can't afford [treatment]," said Robinson.

    The party will also campaign to reform electronic surveillance laws, which will include defining which types of deep packet inspection and surveillance are allowed. Robinson offered Google Street View and behavioural ad-monitoring company Phorm as examples of technology not covered by UK law.

    "Current law isn't taking into account advances in technology such as Street View," said Robinson. "There's no law to say it's OK to take pictures of streets, but not the inside of houses. Phorm is too much like surveillance. We're saying there needs to be a set of laws to handle technology such as Phorm and Street View."

    Surveillance by government agencies, including the proposed Interception Modernisation Programme, must be made as transparent as possible, according to the Pirate Party UK. "We would like to expand the Freedom of Information Act so government information is published by default, unless there are security issues," said Robinson.

    At the moment, the Pirate Party UK is recruiting members and seeking donations, and it aims to field as many candidates as it can at the next general election, Robinson said. The party leader intends to stand for election in either the Worcester or West Worcestershire constituencies.

    The Pirate Party UK has no formal connection with similar parties around the world. "There are very informal links we talk to each other," said Robinson. "We are structurally and financially independent."

    There are 24 Pirate Party organisations around the world.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for posting this, v85rawdeal. It was an interesting read.

    How do you think they will fare in the UK? Do you reckon there's a chance that they'll get an MP in the next election?

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    ELITE v85rawdeal's Avatar
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    I don't know, it may be a bit too soon. However, I do see them possibly affecting some of the policies of the other parties as they try and go for the 'popular' vote.

    Mind you, politics is not my 'thing'.
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    ELITE v85rawdeal's Avatar
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    And as a follow-up article.

    The Register reported the following:

    The Pirate Party UK has been all but swamped by interest shown since they registered as an official political party last month, its leader claimed this week.

    Andrew Peter Robinson, party leader, told The Register: "It has exceeded all expectations. Put it this way, donations have been coming in so fast that PayPal were concerned we were a fraudulent site." Robinson said it was hard to keep up with interest but about 100 people an hour were joining the party.

    Robinson said: "The party was born of the feeling at the last European elections that there was no one to vote for and a group of us were jealous of people in Sweden who could vote for the Pirate Party." There is no organisational link, or funding, between the two groups although they do talk through the Pirate Party International site.

    The group is now registered with the Electoral Commission and has four elected officials. This costs 150, along with 35 to register for data protection.

    Robinson is realistic about the party's chances of sweeping to power: "We're not going to win any seats but we can get these issues discussed." The party will look to contest as many seats as funds allow and may even stand at a by-election if there is one before the general election. Michael Martin's seat in Glasgow may be contested in the autumn, for example. Standing in every constituency would cost 325,000 just for deposits, with nothing spent on posters and publicity.

    The pirates, apart from wanting to legalise non-commercial file sharing and ending excessive surveillance, call for reform of copyright laws which they believe are excessively long and fail to benefit artists.

    Robinson said: "The system as it is doesn't award artists. Typical record contracts now grant 95 per cent of revenues to the record label, not the band. Reorganising that would help make up for a lot of the shortfall from cutting the length of copyright."
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