Pirate Party wins seat in European parliament

Elections for the European Parliament were held in most European countries today, and, as many expected, Sweden's Piratpartiet, or Pirate Party, has won a seat with over 7% of the vote, according to The Local. Many people associate the Pirate Party with file-sharing, but their aims are wider.

According to their official website, "The Pirate Party wants to fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens' rights to privacy are respected."

More specifically, the agenda the Pirate Party's MEP will take to Brussels includes:

  • Making all non-commercial copying free
  • Limiting copyright to five years--they call the current laws "absurd" noting that "[n]obody needs to make money seventy years after he is dead."
  • Encouraging rather than criminalising file-sharing
  • Making the Internet "the greatest public library ever created" and ensuring everyone the widest access to knowledge and culture
  • Abolishing patents--they hold that "[p]harmaceutical patents [are] kill[ing] people in third world countries every day" and that "[p]atents in other areas range from the morally repulsive (like patents on living organisms) through the seriously harmful (patents on software and business methods) to the merely pointless (patents in the mature manufacturing industries)."
  • Dismantling the surveillance society to protect privacy and civil liberties--they note that "[t]errorists may attack the open society, but only governments can abolish it. The Pirate Party wants to prevent that from happening."
Given that the Pirate Party only have one seat (of Sweden's 18 and of the European Union's total of 736) in the European Parliament, they will have a long road ahead if they are to bring their agenda of protecting privacy and civil liberties and reforming copyright laws to fruition, but they've taken the first step.

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48 Comments

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Good for them it's a bout time.

My moto has always been, as long as you download it and use for your own personal use then, I don't see a problem, it's when you make loads of copies and then sell them off for profit is when you are really breaking the law.

TRC said,
Nice, name your party after thieves and murderers.

you should do a little reading about the history of pirates instead of making gross assumptions based on movies and pop culture.


/aaarrrrr

The Pirate Party should start with Economics 101 so they can understand that legalizing file sharing would bring music and movies to a grinding halt. How difficult is it to consider that if everyone is "sharing" and no one is buying then where does the money come from to continue making movies and music?

I guess grade-school education is too much to ask these days.

Most people buy the music/movie/software they like. Torrents have contributed in many ways for people to discover new music and BUY it.

You should stop trolling if you don't know how it works.

C_Guy said,
I guess grade-school education is too much to ask these days.

Yes, and that's probably why you didn't get any. Stop trolling here.

The only thing that would happen is that the fat dogs at the big labels wouldn't be able to buy yet another Rolls Royce for their overcrowding car park. Oh noes!

Limiting copyright to five years--they call the current laws "absurd" noting that "[n]obody needs to make money seventy years after he is dead."

While i definately agree that the length of copyright right now is stupid 5 years is stretching it a lot.

Yea, and given that the markets are bigger and move much faster to day, 5 years to cover research and development isn't that far fetched. i say 7-10 for starters, just to give it some good measure. Even that would make for a huge stride in the right direction.

Patents should be there to protect the investment, not to generate profits...

Even if abolishing patents is a bad idea, its pretty clear that current patent laws need to be revised. As it is now it hindering development and innovation rather than protecting it.

You agree with keeping pharmaceutical patents yet are all for the end of copyright. Can someone please explain to me how the two are any different? Because right now you all sound like a bunch of hypocrites.

That's just the way the human race works. Hypocrisy is our number one product. Just look at religious people:

All "Pro-Life" and "Anti-Birth Control" one minute and "Let's go to war and not only kill the enemy but a boatload of innocents as well" the next minute.

There is no logic, only failure.

Cheers!!!

That's exactly a kind of party they are looking to side with in the EU as for the other political topics, as long as they feel they are fairly "compatible" with their opinions. The PP are mainly looking to liberal or greens in the EU, not conservatives (obviously, haha).

I agree with all of those things except the patent thing. Those are neccessary so that folks dont steal peoples ideas and make money off them. Furthermore a ton of money goes into research for stuff that gets patent like drugs for healthcare and such. Nothing I hate more than when people steal other peoples ideas and try to make money off them. Dont get me wrong prescription drugs are for the most part overpriced but I think thats something that needs to be handled on the insurance company end of things since they already make way more than they put out.

Tom W said,
Thanks for the feedback, that's something we are looking at for future updates on the site :)


The news poster could always take a manual look and link manually. After all, we get told off for posting dupe threads! xD

Tom W said,
Thanks for the feedback, that's something we are looking at for future updates on the site :)

I think that we had done this before.

From torrentfreak:
Sweden has 20 seats, but until the Lisbon treaty passes only 18 with voting rights. This means that the Pirate Party will have 2 seats.

tertle said,
From torrentfreak:
Sweden has 20 seats, but until the Lisbon treaty passes only 18 with voting rights. This means that the Pirate Party will have 2 seats.

doesn't that require a referendum? yeah... they'll get that all right.

Hmmm.. Some of their aims don't make any sense. Abolishing patents? Pharmaceutical patents are necessary because the companies spend billions of dollars on research. However, I do agree that patents should be valid for a limited period. It should follow the principle of Build, Operate and then Transfer.

actually i think the pharmaceutical patent abolishin is a good thing think of all the people saved by cheaper drugs oh but then there would be evan more mouths to feed hmmm f'd if we do and f'd if we don't other than that go the pirates

The fact is, if there are no patents, the pharmaceutical companies do not have any incentives to develop new drugs. All of them will just wait for their competitors to pour in money on research and then when the final product comes out, they will just copy the formula. Thus there will be a situation where no one is willing to spend anything on research.

As surrealvortex said, if the companies spending billions on developing new drugs cannot recoup that money, then they will stop spending that money. Meaning no new drugs. Meaning no new medicine. Or are you volunteering to pay for the drug development?

Pasteur invented the pasteurization thanks to Johnsons&Johnson.
Alexander Fleming inventor of Penicillin with resources of Bayer and Merck&co

And so on..

So yes, it is IMPOSSIBLE to invent a new drug without the help of a (evil) megacorporation.

There are other ways to fund research, in Norway for instance almost all research is done through government grants etc. I could also imagine drug companies sponsoring external research programs etc.

The fact of the matter is that the current situation makes it so that drugs and medicine is a privilege that only the rich can afford.

You have to stop thinking about the $$$, and think about the benefits of mankind, and in this case you also have to allow yourself to consider a different approach to the whole field.

There is still markeds for these things, people will find ways to make money on it, regardless of laws and legislation.

Personaly i think shorter periods for patents is a good start, both because it lets the markeds get used to the idea of not using patents as a "cash cow" and allowing a company to earn back their investments, before the patent expires and they have to deal with the competition of the free market and have to demand prices that actually compare with the costs of production.

[quote=Magallanes said,]Pasteur invented the pasteurization thanks to Johnsons&Johnson.
Alexander Fleming inventor of Penicillin with resources of Bayer and Merck&co

And so on..

So yes, it is IMPOSSIBLE to invent a new drug without the help of a (evil) megacorporation.[/quote]Where do you get these things from? Your own "parallel universe"?
Have you ever opened a science book/manual?
Have you ever heard of "Urban Myths":
http://www.snopes.com/
FYI:
1. Luis Pasteur discovered the "pasteurization" process in 1862:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pasteurization
Johnson & Johnson exist only since ~ 1889 [quote: "Johnson & Johnson was founded more than 120 years ago" = don't forget we are "only" in 2009]:
http://www.jnj.com/connect/about-jnj/company-history/
2. Alexander Fleming discovered the beneficial effects on staphylococus dish cultures by the fungus "Penicillium notatum" [later renamed to "Penicillium chrysogenum"] in 1928:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Fleming
Bayer is not (co)owned by or affilitated with Merck in any way. Same is valid about Merck: not (co)owned by nor affiliated with Bayer in any way. Actually they are competitors for same markets:
http://pubs.acs.org/cen/news/84/i13/8413bayerbid.html
Bayer's US branch [HQ based in Germany] was shut down and their assets sold off in 1917 [quoted from Bayer.com]:
http://www.bayer.com/en/1914-1925.aspx
Between 1926-1928 Bayer barely recovered [in Germany], and in 1928 "the great depression" started to affect it again:
http://www.bayer.com/en/1925-1945.aspx
Merck:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merck_&_Co.
I looked for anything that could link Fleming's discovery with Bayer and/or Merck. Found nothing. This is not even an "urban myth", it's just plain wrong.
http://www.protomag.com/statics/F_08_antibiotics.pdf
Maybe you should learn something. Education is good for you.

Cheers

mdgx said,
Where do you get these things from? Your own "parallel universe"?
Have you ever opened a science book/manual?
Have you ever heard of "Urban Myths":


Maybe you should learn something. Education is good for you.

Cheers


+1 Couldn't have said it better myself!

SH3K0 said,
Fantastic

Indeed, a fantastic win for stupidity. If anyone wanted the proof that people in general are idiots and are easily swayed when you appeal to their sense of greed, look no further than this result.

I would love to see a world where these parasites actually created new things, works of scientific and artistic endeavor which took them years and millions of dollars - and then just put them up for sharing for free. Of course that won't happen... pirates love to bleat on about sharing when all the while they simply leech without contributing a single thing to society themselves.

Congratulations Pirate Party! All hail man's all-conquering greed and the logical fallacies spread by nitwits around the world in an attempt to justify it.

7Dash8 said,
I would love to see a world where these parasites

You can't call people parasites because you don't agree with their pov. They legally and democratly got one of their member elected by the people.

While i do not agree with everything they say i think the technology and society changed enough so we can at least discuss the validity of some parts of the copyright law.

7Dash8 said,
All hail man's all-conquering greed and the logical fallacies spread by nitwits around the world in an attempt to justify it.


That sounds like a perfect description of the current state of copyright laws. Those laws were never intended to grant essentially perpetual copyright protection to authors, yet due to corporate greed, that is where we are now.

Logical fallacies? You mean like interpreting the phrase "for limited times" to mean "life of the author plus 70 years"?

Here is the text of a speech I wrote for a class a few years ago that you might find interesting (by the way, I hereby release this into the public domain for anyone to use):
General Purpose: To Persuade General Topic: Copyright terms

Specific Purpose Statement: At the end of my speech, the audience will be persuaded that the length of time that copyrights last should be shortened

Central Idea: The length of time that copyrights last has gone far beyond the original idea and no longer serve to promote the advancement of the arts


Introduction:

Attention Statement: When you hear the words “for a limited time”, what length of time do you think of? A few months? A few years? Would it surprise you to learn that our Congress has defined those words to mean “for the life of an author plus 70 years?”

Establish Credibility: Based on my research, I have found that copyrights were originally intended to promote the advancement of the arts, and were only supposed to last for a limited time, but the length of time that they last has been repeatedly extended to cater to corporate interests.

Preview Statement: Today I will persuade you that copyright terms should be shortened so that they once again reflect the original intent of copyrights.

Body:

I. According to the Constitution of the United States, Congress is required "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries".
A. The original intent was that after this limited time, artistic and literary works would pass into the public domain, so that they would enrich all of society.
B. The founding fathers recognized that the rights of authors and inventors to make a profit from their labors was important, but that these things should ultimately become the property of everyone.
II. According to the web site of the U.S. Copyright Office, a copyright can last any one of several different time frames.
A. Works created after January 1, 1978 are automatically protected from the moment of their creation for a term of the life of the author, plus 70 years.
B. Works created before then can have several different lengths of copyright protection, depending on when they were published or registered with the copyright office.
C. Works made for hire, such as a writer who is contracted to write a book, or a programmer who works for a company, fall under different rules, and the term of their copyright is 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter.
III. Over the last hundred years or so, Congress has repeatedly extended copyright terms, often at the request of companies who were in danger of losing the copyrights on their works into the public domain.
A. Often referred to as the “Mickey Mouse Copyright Act”, the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, which was passed by Congress in 1998 has virtually granted perpetual copyright to anything created after 1923.
B. The Walt Disney Company lobbied for this act heavily, presumably because the copyrights on the very first Mickey Mouse cartoons were about to expire.
C. Over the years, Walt Disney has made a fortune from making cartoons based on fairy tales that have long since passed into the public domain. Now they seem determined to make sure that no one else can ever do the same thing.
IV. According to the Urban Legend Reference web page, even the song “Happy Birthday to You” is still protected under copyright.
A. It was originally published and copyrighted in 1935, and according to the laws in effect at the time, should have been released into the public domain after a single 28-year copyright term.
B. Although singing the song to family members at a birthday party in your home is not infringing on the copyright, any use of the song in a commercial setting, such as singing it at a restaurant for example, technically would require you to pay royalties!
C. Violations of this particular copyright are rarely prosecuted; however, next time you hear the song in a movie, stick around for the credits. You̢۪ll see an acknowledgement of the copyright on the song there.


Conclusion:

Summary of Main Points: Today I have persuaded you that copyright terms have gone far beyond the original scope of the Constitution.

Closing Statement: I believe that for the good of society, we should pressure Congress to repeal the extensions that have been granted to copyrights over the last hundred years and allow copyrights to serve their original purpose.

pirates love to bleat on about sharing when all the while they simply leech without contributing a single thing to society themselves.

Couldn't have said it better myself. And to take it one step further, if everyone were a leech (or "pirate") then who if left to create new music / movies / software?

Exactly.

In the perfect world, piracy wouldn't be an illegal thing of course. This being a stable world without money (and hence without a lot of greed), which sadly, we would appear to be very far away from. But you have the strange situation that these "pirates" are only greedy because they are going against a system which is purely based on greed (capitalism). Yet if you follow the rules of the greedy system, you aren't greedy (in the case of digital piracy anyway) ^^

C_Guy said,
pirates love to bleat on about sharing when all the while they simply leech without contributing a single thing to society themselves.

Couldn't have said it better myself. And to take it one step further, if everyone were a leech (or "pirate") then who if left to create new music / movies / software?

Exactly.

Because if you leech on a torrent site, you can't make music, right? I beg to differ.

The Stylish Hobo said,
In the perfect world, piracy wouldn't be an illegal thing of course. This being a stable world without money (and hence without a lot of greed), which sadly, we would appear to be very far away from. But you have the strange situation that these "pirates" are only greedy because they are going against a system which is purely based on greed (capitalism). Yet if you follow the rules of the greedy system, you aren't greedy (in the case of digital piracy anyway) ^^

capitalism it is NOT. we do NOT have capitalism in America, we have fascism (corporations and government in cahoots). to say we have free trade and capitalism is simply wrong or possibly just naive. capitalism does not consist of corporate lobbyists open bribing congressmen for laws that favor their industry. capitalism does not consist of huge subsidies for corporate farmers. have you ever read what NAFTA does?

7Dash8 said,
I would love to see a world where these parasites actually created new things, works of scientific and artistic endeavor

No one creates anything new. It's all just copying.