Understanding The Pirate Party

from the good-or-bad? dept

In writing about The Pirate Party's success in winning a seat in the EU Parliament, I noted that I wasn't necessarily a fan of The Pirate Party's name or some of its positions, but I do think the Party is bringing some attention to important issues. Ivor Tossell, at The Globe and Mail, has an interview with Christian Engstrom from The Pirate Party, who will be taking the seat, where they discuss a variety of issues -- including the name. When Tossell questions why it wasn't called something like the Copyright Reform Party, Engstrom pointed out (most likely correctly): "Because if that had been the name, you wouldn't be talking to me."

The other issue, that was raised in the comments to that post, was the assertion that members of The Pirate Party aren't actually interested in the civil rights and freedom issues the party stands for, but that they just want "free stuff." However, in the audio interview, Engstrom does a good job highlighting why the issues they fight for are very much civil rights issues. He talks about the value of privacy and human rights -- as well as access to information.

Much of the discussion does focus on the name. Engstrom insists that the name is essential -- and notes that he joined the party because the word "pirate" acts as an effective shorthand for everything that the party stands for. Tossell, though, does raise some important questions about how far the Party can go with the name, however. I tend to agree. While I agree that calling it The Pirate Party helps in getting initial attention (and press attention), it also brings out those sorts of false accusations that it's just about "getting free stuff" rather than serious issues that impact civil rights and innovation.


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  1.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 4:51pm

    Mrmph

    I keep going back and forth on the name, myself. On the one hand, it's the typical 'owning the disparaging epitaph' that has been used forever. On the other hand, it feeds into the agenda of the very people who use the desparaging epitaph.

    I'd have gone with the "Physics Party" myself. But alas, as in so many matters, I wasn't consulted.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 4:52pm

    Mike, when are you going to run the tip I sent you about the BNR party, you know, the group that is reported to be racist and white supremacists, that group that got twice as many seats in the Euro parliament as the pirate party?

    You of all people, a man who spots trends early and runs with them should see this as the trend to racism, which is a much bigger problem in the world than copyright.

     

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    SteveD (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 4:59pm

    Had they not used the name they likely wouldn't have leached off the Pirate Bay trial so well in publicity, but the question must now turn to legitimacy in the eyes of their peers.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:11pm

    Re: WH - is that you ?

    and change the site name to Racist Dirt ?

     

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    Osno, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:16pm

    Pirate Party FTW!

    I love the name. I think it strongly defies the established IP protectors by saying "you know what, we think piracy is ok", and then goes on to defend what that really stands for, not the strawman that they have made up for us. I think that most of the members of the EU parliament will be surprised to learn what a pirate party stands for, and I think that strong name does nothing but help. It's political propaganda done right: no way to miss it, international coverage and a strong political view on a very important subject.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: WH - is that you ?

    Nope - just pointing out that the "amazing success" of the pirate party that some people are claiming isn't 50% of what a group of (what some people have referred to as) Neo Nazis got.

    information is best served in context, no?

     

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    CleverName, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: WH - is that you ?

    Some racists got more votes than TPB.
    I still do not see the relevance, but ok.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: WH - is that you ?

    relevance is this: Mike is always on about "trends", spotting trends, noting trends, and going with them. Mike as an example feels that free music for everyone for every will happen because the trend is going that way, or that newspapers will die because the trend is going that way.

    I don't debate him right or wrong on those points at this moment. My point only is that the "racists" got twice as many seats as the pirates. This would suggest based on the "trends" that "reported neo-nazism" is on the upswing twice as fast as free music.

    Again, presented in context, the victory of the pirate party isn't barely a brief flux in the background noise of the universe, not a tectonic shift.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WH - is that you ?

    "Again, presented in context, the victory of the pirate party isn't barely a brief flux in the background noise of the universe, not a tectonic shift."

    Well, it actually suggests that the 'middle' (by Euro standards) is not holding. The Greens also picked up seats (with the endorsement of some Pirate Bay defendents.) It's not a slow-moving consensus sort of moment.

    Now, just as Mike doesn't comment on skirt sizes (to my dismay) he also doesn't comment on parties that don't have a technological agenda. For reasons that should be obvious after a moment's thought.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:11pm

    The difference is that your "trend" is not new. There have been racists around and in government for ever. England doesn't help either with their strong anti-terrorist stance where every foreigner may be a terrorist. A pirate party in government *is* new.

     

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    Patty, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:20pm

    The Pirate Party Name

    As an old timer I have to agree that the Pirate Party is a good name, indeed.

    It reflects young people being rightly irate about the older generation trying to put a lid on an unprecedented explosion of freedom of expression. The feeling is one of a middle finger salute to the old garde, a feeling I well remember with fondness even if I am now the old garde myself.

    Most folks know by now that the swashbuckling pirates of yore days were an adventurous and democratic lot and the party name reflects this spirit.

    This movement has enormous potential. It may have begun with a wink but it will grow to be something quite serious in the coming years.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WH - is that you ?

    Again, it is a question of scale. The Pirate Party's "success" would be signficant and a clear trend if it wasn't so small and so insignificant in a sea of much more signficant happenings.

    Digging further also tells you a bunch about the process. The election was done using proportional representation - so while 45% of all swedish people voted, only 7% of those people voted for the pirate party. So less then 3.5% of all eligible swedes voted for the pirates. When you compare that to the demographics of the country, you would see that even the youth of the country wasn't that impressed.

    If the election had be run on the basis of districts, with the winner of each district going to the parliament, the pirates would have been an asterisk at the end of the results.

    So again, is it a trend? Taken with everything considered, it isn't anything other that background noice.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WH - is that you ?

    I dont see where the word "trend" appears in the writeup, perhaps you could point it out to me.

     

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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 7:06pm

    Mike, regarding "the assertion that members of The Pirate Party aren't actually interested in the civil rights and freedom issues the party stands for, but that they just want "free stuff." I think you're referring at least in part to the comments that I (and a very few others) made on your prior post. My contention wasn't and isn't that party MEMBERS aren't seriously interested in the real rights issues at hand. I think I said that several different ways. My comments were surrounding the generic SUPPORTERS and VOTERS, not specifically in Sweden but surrounding this movement globally. Of course those that spend their time and treasure working on these issues, including the pursuit of public office, are focused on the real issues they see and have defined. The question I (apparently ineffectively) attempted to raise is whether the support this party and other similar movements are presently enjoying will actually be sustained due to a substantial amount of it coming from those less focused on issues and more focused on stuff. The Free Stuffers, I call them. I don't (and don't mean to sound like I) question anyone's first-person statements as to what their focus is. I'm talking about a chunk of the casual supporters who have a vote, but aren't vocally involved otherwise.

    And as for your comment that you "agree that calling it The Pirate Party helps in getting initial attention (and press attention), it also brings out those sorts of false accusations that it's just about "getting free stuff" rather than serious issues that impact civil rights and innovation..." again, either you misunderstand or I wasn't clear: the movement IS about rights, entitlements and protections. It is the support of that movement that isn't necessarily as focused on the real issues. I think it's pretty much a truism that of the millions and tens of millions of people, say, downloading material presently protected by copyright or other IP protection legislation, the vast majority of them aren't engaging in heartfelt civil disobedience against what they view as draconian IP laws and government infringement on their rights...they just want free bootleg of Star Trek. Those are the Free Stuffers. And for the haters, I AGREE that even though a bunch of people are Free Stuffers, it doesn't make these issues less important, the transgressions less damaging and the abuse of monitoring and wiretap laws by government less concerning. But I do think that using the Pirate moniker risks continuing the entanglement of issue-focused rights activism with the quest for free stuff. That's not a "false accusation" it's a real entanglement that is problematic for those interested in real reform.

     

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    Felix Pleşoianu, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 9:32pm

    I'm with Osno and Patty here. The Pirate Party's name is a much-needed dose of political incorrectness in today's overly constipated institutional culture. It attracts attention; it points out just how absurd the old conventions are. Let them shock the old dinosaurs a little.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 6:09am

    Re:

    Considering that anti-semitism is still practically a sport in Europe I don't find this hard to believe.

     

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    ateologu, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 6:11am

    Freestuffers my ass.

    BobinBaltimore:

    Let me get this straight: so you're just going to diss the people at home who aren't interested in economics or politics, who just want to benefit from the huge flux of value that modern technology offers them without having to worry about all the details and implications? What the frack makes you think they'd be opposed to any measures that might make it a fair game (without ruining too much of the easy content-access)? Is it perhaps because you can't feel self-righteous enough if you don't find someone to accuse of "immorality"?

     

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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Jun 13th, 2009 @ 7:13am

    Re: Freestuffers my ass.

    Predictable. I'm not dissing anyone, nor do I feel self-righteous toward anyone in this story. As I explicitly said, just because some folks are purely interested in free stuff, it doesn't change the importance and materiality of the legal and privacy issues at hand.

    If by "benefit from the huge flux of value that modern technology offers them" you mean the ability to download copyrighted material, often taking pains to conceal the activity because they Free Stuffer knows that said activity is illegal or potentially illegal under existing copyright and IP protection laws, then yes. There is, of course, a difference between "illegal" and your word of choice, "immoral." And I never said those Free Stuffers would be OPPOSED to reforms that benefit their habits and desires...I said the opposite, that they are supporting efforts like the Pirate Party and other efforts globally. This creates a liability for earnest, issue-focused political movements because they have the albatross of these perceived illegal and actually illegal activities dangling around their public relations neck as they try to talk about broader rights issues.

    I'm not dissing anyone's position, political view or desire for free stuff - whatever the motivation. I'm just pointing out that the nature and origin of the various beasts here may have created some perception and sustainability problems that might need to be factored in by these movements, especially when it comes to understanding both the goodness and badness surrounding decisions like naming a political effort "The Pirate Party." Would the casual voter/observer (not a politically aware activist type) view that name as politically incorrect irony showing the folly of antiquated IP laws, or will they be more likely to associate it with people who want Free Stuff, as the media has been displaying from time to time going back to Napster days? I argue that for the vast constituency (again, not specifically in Sweden, but generally) it is the latter. This, therefore, changes the educational, outreach and sustainability approaches for such parties and political groups. It does not mean that anyone's opinion or approach is illegitmate or "immoral."

     

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    CleverName, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re: Freestuffers my ass.

    You think that a large percentage of PP voters are copyright infringers as well ? Where did you get this data and would you care to share it ?

     

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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Jun 13th, 2009 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Freestuffers my ass.

    My comments (as I said on this thread and the one prior) are NOT exclusively or even specifically about the Pirate Party or Sweden, nor did I say a "large percentage." As for data, I've said that my take is this is self-evident. Not trying to fool anyone. I don't think it's a major leap to relate Free Stuffers and the organized copyright/IP reform movement, especially when viewing through the eyes of a decent percentage of voters who don't (yet) view these as top-line critical issues. Of course it will vary from country to country, and issue nuance to issue nuance.

     

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    Brooks, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WH - is that you ?

    Trends are about change. If the racists went from zero to two seats, then yes, you're right. If they went from two to two seats, that's not evidence of an upswing.

     

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    Brooks, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 8:20am

    The name isn't bad

    I like the "Pirate" name. In addition to getting attention, it's a clever way of blunting the media industry's drive to label everyone as pirates.

    The party is saying "Look, the record labels, movie studios, and publishers are using the piracy bogeyman to try to get people to pay up if they sing in the shower... so if we're all pirates now, you're *already* a member of our party."

     

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    ateologu, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 9:45am

    Re: Re: Freestuffers my ass.

    "I'm not dissing anyone, nor do I feel self-righteous toward anyone in this story."

    Err, yes you do, but it's so subtle you can't even see it yourself. Calling downloaders "Free" Stuffers implies that they're hell-bent on taking lots of stuff without giving _anything_ in return (hence, Free stuff), whereas I'm quite convinced most of them are actually Easy Stuffers, i.e. they like how easy it is to get the content off the Net and start enjoying it right away, with just a few clicks. This - I say again - in no way entails that they would never agree to use some (equally easy) form of payment, but your (continued) use of the label "Free Stuffers" tells me you think it actually does. Thus, I say you're assuming immoral freeloaderism on their part for no good reason. And when you don't give reasons for a disparaging label, you're just being insulting.

    And BTW, one major problem with paying for informational content - I don't know how many people, even economists, realize - is that its price is not guaranteed to be fair by market forces. It's legally protected from the competitive forces that would drive it down, but not against the producer greed that always drives it up. By current laws, informational content is always a monopolistic business: if someone writes a book and sells it for money, you're not allowed to offer another book, 99% identical but with 1% significantly improved and ask for 99% of the price, i.e. content creators are protected from competition, so customers are "protected" from lower (more realistic) prices.
    Until this changes, I don't see how any system could work that tries to make paying for content as fast and easy as downloading it is. There has to be a greed-proof system of 100% price fairness or it's never going to be accepted.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Freestuffers my ass.

    "I don't think it's a major leap to relate Free Stuffers and the organized copyright/IP reform movement"

    Everyone should be entitled to their own opinion. That being said, I think that you are attempting to label as infringers all those who think the "IP" cartel is out of control. I doubt that is a correct assessment and I suspect that upon investigation one would find reliable data to the contrary.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WH - is that you ?

    It isn't a technological issue, which is why it doesn't appear in a tech blog. Yes, racism is a big issue, but it is also outside the scope of what we generally discuss, here.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 2:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WH - is that you ?

    The point isn't to discuss racism, there are plenty of other places to do that. The point is to scale the "accomplishments" of the pirate party.

    Less than 50% of the swedish population even voted, and the pirate party got 7% of that (or about 3% of all potential voters). In anything but a proportional representation system, they would have been shut out (and would have run a terrible 4th or 5th place in every district).

    Scale is important to the discussion. I would suspect a demographic breakdown would show that outside of a narrow focus group, the Pirate Party didn't get any real action. 3% means that they didn't even get the majority of the younger voters (18-30).

     

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    vlllad, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

    200.000 people is a lot of people. And this is only the beginning. A lot of people didn't vote for the PP because they didn't think that the PP would make it and didn't want to waste their vote or their time. If Christian Engstrom does a good job in the EP, be assured that this percentage will be doubled in the 2012 election.

    And this is a historical moment. It's the first time that a technology based party wins anything. It's one small but necessary step to adding a new issue to the political agenda. It is a miracle that so many people voted for them. There is hope for democracy yet. And the PP is all about democracy, I mean just look at the guy, he has been an unpaid no-patent-on-software activist for 5 years. These are people with a vision, people who still haven't lost their idealism, like 99% of the current politicians. Let's just hope they stay that way and that power won't corrupt them.

    If you care about your internet freedom (and I'm not only talking about gettin' free stuff), you need to join your local Pirate Party, cause right now it's the only hope. If you want a surveillance society, just vote for the regular guys, or better yet, don't vote, because that's what they want you to do. Everybody should be a politician some of the time, like in ancient Athens (only without the slaves), and the internet can help us get political and start to care about other people rather than our own well-being and our stupid job.

    It may be the first mass-driven revolution yet. It may turn the masses into participants into a greater democracy. It may fail miserably if it is met only with skepticism. This time, we can make a difference. 200.000 today, maybe 1.000.000 in 4 years and maybe more later. We need to rethink the 'right' and the 'left', we need to adapt our issues, rather than to keep fighting over free-market vs social protection bullshit. Maybe we wouldn't need social protection if we were all well informed. Maybe the market would be freer when patents and political influence don't matter so much. Maybe we need to rise from our chairs and participate to policy making (Wiki style), rather than voting for the same old corrupt sob's and then criticizing their actions.

     

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    ateologu, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 3:26pm

    Perspective, you say?

    You want to put things in perspective? Here:
    - They more than tripled their membership in just two months, they're now the 3rd largest party in Sweden and have THE largest youth organization of any party in Sweden
    - They went from 0.63% of all votes cast in 2006 to 7.13% in 2009

    If those poor boys at the Pirate Bay do get convicted in the end, I'll betcha you're gonna see the real power of the pirates. :)


    And BTW, it's not a fair evaluation of the party itself if you keep insisting on the country's low election turnout. It's pretty much the same everywhere, it's not the pirates' fault that people don't vote. Those who don't vote are essentially telling us they want their decisions made for them. So the only ones who really matter politically are those who do vote. No more whining about "3%", it was 7.13% and that's the only number that really matters.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Perspective, you say?

    For me, the 3% number is incredibly important.

    Assuming an even demographic sweep from 20 years old to 80 years old (allows for some younger and some older), that gives us 6 pieces of the demographic pie. Each slice is worth 16.6% of the votes. So far so good?

    Now, allowing that some older people might have voted for the pirate part, and some younger people did not, the pirate party still failed to mobilize the youth vote. They didn't even get 1/4 of the lower age slice to show up and vote for them. With all the viral marketing, all the press, and all the hoopla, you would think that the youth would show up en masse and vote the heck out of them. In theory, they should have polled at double what they hit.

    Heck, if they had actually motivated the younger voters, they might have done even better, considering the poor turn out.

    In the end, the BNR party in the UK got a higher percentage of the vote. "trends" indeed.

     

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    Gunnar, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 5:07pm

    Perspective

    @26: "In anything but a proportional representation system, they would have been shut out" - saying it would not matter if the system was different from what it actually is, is not really an argument, and shows a lack of understanding of how most democracies work. The system *is* proportional, and 7.1% is more than the usual difference between the left and right coalitions in Sweden, making them kingmakers if they can replicate the success in a national election.

    @29: Saying the success does not matter because The Pirate Party did not get a majority of the young votes, but "only" became the most popular party in that group, is also stupid. It is rare that a single party gets a majority of the votes in such a group, so no result would ever matter if that was the benchmark.

    Also, the BNP did not get a higher percentage of the vote. They got 6.2% in the UK, which is a larger country with more seats in European Parlament than Sweden, so they got more seats than the Pirate Party got for their 7.1% i Sweden.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: WH - is that you ?

    Ok
    What was your point again ?
    Something about racists and PP not getting as many votes.
    Oh - well.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 7:21pm

    Re: Perspective

    "Also, the BNP did not get a higher percentage of the vote. They got 6.2% in the UK, which is a larger country with more seats in European Parlament than Sweden, so they got more seats than the Pirate Party got for their 7.1% i Sweden."

    Sorry, read a number backwards on the eu election site.

    "Saying the success does not matter because The Pirate Party did not get a majority of the young votes, but "only" became the most popular party in that group, is also stupid."

    I don't even think they are the most popular in that group, and that is key here. They are a party with effectively very few issues that appeal outside of the group. If they had a larger amount of that younger group and had motivated them to the polls, then they might have many more seats.

    I just think it is odd that the audience they should be playing to isn't tripping over themselves to get to the "party".

     

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    ateologu, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 1:31am

    Re: Re: Perspective, you say?

    I say again: "Do not blame a single party for what is a general socio-political problem, i.e. low participation in elections."

    What part of this do you not get?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 5:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Perspective, you say?

    If they truly engaged youth and represented something that youth found important, the "general socio-political problem" of low voter turnout would be reversed, at least in that group.

    In the end, I suspect the pirates are getting more play here than they get at home.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    Re: Re: Perspective, you say?

    Wait a minute ...
    I question the assumption of uniform distribution across age groups. This would be strange if it were indeed true, do you have data to substantiate this claim ?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Perspective, you say?

    I don't have specific population distribution for sweden, but made allowence for it by breaking things only over 6 groups instead of 8 (20 - 80 rather than 18 to 98). That give a slight bias to the oldest group (every over 80) and the youngest (everyone under 30). That should more or less offset the bulge in the middle of the aging boomers, especially as their under 30 children are the echo.

     

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    Andrew D. Todd, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 7:20am

    Proportional Representation and Coalition Government.

    In a proportional representation parliamentary system, such as those prevailing in Europe, no one gets an outright majority. There are too many parties. To rule, you have to assemble a coalition. Big parties like the Socialists and the Christian Democrats (or the local equivalent) get maybe forty percent of the vote, and have to scratch around for another ten percent of minor-party seats, by making deals with the little parties. This sort of thing is very much like "bullet voting" in the United States, only the minor interests have parliamentary seats. One of the unspoken ground rules of European politics is that you freeze out the Neo-Nazis. You refuse to deal with them. The Neo-Nazi members of parliament can vote as they please, but they don't get anything for it. The long-term damage of the Swastika is simply too great.

    The basic core Socialist is someone like a schoolteacher, that is, a unionized government employee, a member of the most numerous group of people with a vested interest in the Socialist agenda. By contrast, the basic core Christian Democrat is typically a shopkeeper, the most ubiquitous kind of businessman. There simply aren't enough real capitalists or CEO's to build a mass party. With the decline of agriculture, there aren't very many farmers, either. Shopkeepers tend to come from ethnic minorities. There used to be a lot of Jewish shopkeepers, and a lot of Jewish shopkeepers voted Socialist, against their immediate economic interest, because the local conservative party could not convince them that it was not the party of Heinrich Himmler. Nowadays, the shopkeepers are likely to be Indian, or Pakistani, or Chinese, or gay. You can imagine their reactions to the Neo-Nazi line. So the golden rule for the Christian Democrats is: don't touch the Neo-Nazis with a ten-foot pole, or you will be very sorry for a long time.

    Nowadays, shopkeepers don't deal in the kinds of goods you can get by mail-order, because those are also the kinds of goods a superstore can vend efficiently. You _really_ don't want to get in the position of having to compete directly with WalMart. The shopkeepers quite sensibly focus on things which don't travel, such as freshly cooked food. You open a pizza joint, and you've got the big oven. The customer cannot make a satisfactory pizza at home, because he hasn't got the right kind of oven. Pizza is noticeably the worse for wear after ten minutes, so you don't need to worry about competing with someone twenty miles away. Most storefront chains, such as fast food, operate on the franchising system. The store manager has bought in, to the tune of a hundred thousand dollars or more. The Pirate Party's economic agenda simply doesn't have much effect on this kind of businessmen. Hamburgers are not infinite goods. The customer will be back today for the same kind of hamburger that he ate yesterday-- provided, of course, that yesterday's hamburger was satisfactory. A couple of hundred hamburgers, over the course of a year, represent a tidy sum of money.

    The RIAA, with its adolescent rebellion emphasis, stands for people who throw bricks through plate-glass windows, people who do drugs, petty criminals, grifters. The RIAA's music is the music of the underclass. This obviously doesn't go over well with shopkeepers. Armed robbery comes very close to being a shopkeeper's worst nightmare. The RIAA's rhetoric, equating music copying with theft, tends to trivialize the implications of looking into the wrong end of a pistol. The Neo-Nazis recruit the same kind of people whom the RIAA glorifies. The Pirate Party, by contrast is concerned with something which people do quietly at home. I would bet that it is also the party of young men who do well on their school exams, and get into university.

    What may happen is an ad hoc alliance between the IFPI, the European RIAA, and the Neo-Nazis, trying to exclude the Pirate Party from coalition.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 8:28am

    "Pirate" was simply used as a secret shortcut codeword for those in-the-know.

    For general public, "hacker" is a person who sends them viruses and steals their credit card numbers.
    For people in-the-know, "hacker" is a highly knowledgeable computer professional who tinkers with complex systems.

    For general public, "pirate" is a person who "steals movies".
    For those in-the-know, "pirate" is a person who stands for freedom of information.

    For those in-the-know, saying "we're pirates, vote us!" delivers (and has delivered, BTW) the message most effectively than any kind of lengthy political campaign.

     

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  39.  
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    JohnB, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 11:31am

    Pirate party UK is in the process of forming

    Happy to report that in the wake of the Swedish success and the very encouraging German results we are in the process of forming the UK Pirate party to carry the message forward in our country.

    http://www.pirateparty.org.uk/

    The Pirate name seems to be an effective way to start by making a strong statement with the first word, and then to give an immediate reason for us to talk about why 'Pirate' is inappropriate to talk about people who quietly and private share and transform digital information, without harming anyone.

    For "Free stuff", there can be a caution within the party about being seen as the "party of free mp3's" because we are saying much more than that, about the inappropriate extension of copyright and the invasion of privacy required to enforce.

    We are committed to being a legitimate political force seeking to change the law through the democratic process and representing the electorate so we cannot and will not advocate illegal activity, including breach of copyright.

    However, I was thinking I must write some material about "Free stuff", as there is a great deal of "Free stuff" enabled by the digital revolution which is widely known and is legal for private individuals to copy, share, adapt, and redistribute, and is demonstrating that this works in practice. Examples include:
    Knowledge: Wikipedia!
    Music: Jamendo.com, Magnatune.com, Nine Inch Nails
    Films:
    Books: Baen Free Library, Project Gutenberg
    Software: Linux (Ubuntu is becoming a high-street name!), Portable Applications, OpenOffice, The Gimp, and many more.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Pirate party UK is in the process of forming

    "We are committed to being a legitimate political force seeking to change the law through the democratic process and representing the electorate so we cannot and will not advocate illegal activity, including breach of copyright."

    How about you grow some "attachments" and state that TPB is bad - after all, much of what is on there is infringing. If you really want to have credibility, start with a credible stand on piracy itself.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re: Pirate party UK is in the process of forming

    > How about you grow some "attachments" and state that TPB is bad - after all, much of what is on there is infringing.

    Of course of course. As you wish. I bet you would also want them to mention that guns are bad because most of the world's guns are used to kill people (Kalashnikov, anyone)? Hell, why stop there, let's outlaw kitchen knives! They can be used to kill people too!

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Pirate party UK is in the process of forming

    Standard horse crap answer.

    Guns and TPB are pretty much on the same level, there are few if any good uses for them (legal) but plenty of illegal or dangerous uses of them.

    Kitchen knives, well, I would guess than 99.99999% of the time, they are used for food.

    Sort of a different view, no?

    Seriously, get some new material, that whine went sour a long time ago.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    JohnB, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Pirate party UK is in the process of forming

    "How about you grow some "attachments" and state that TPB is bad - after all, much of what is on there is infringing. If you really want to have credibility, start with a credible stand on piracy itself."

    What part of sharing information is bad? TPB do not post infringing content, only index what is out there. Just like YouTube.

    We believe that sharing information, as TPB users do, is a good thing for all of us. Claiming some of it to be "owned" and trying to enforce that, requires that all internet traffic be monitored or restricted. We also believe in the rule of law, and therefore seek to change the law through democratic process and representation.

    We assert that restriction is not a good thing, and seek to change the law so that non-commercial sharing of information is no longer illegal, we believe that people and especially young people will support this and vote for us. When the law is changed, the activity will no longer be illegal and we can lawfully advocate it.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 7:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Pirate party UK is in the process of forming

    "What part of sharing information is bad? TPB do not post infringing content, only index what is out there. Just like YouTube."

    ...and unlike youtube, they don't remove it from their index when informed. They are also not like youtube at all. They are pirates.

    "We believe that sharing information, as TPB users do, is a good thing for all of us. Claiming some of it to be "owned" and trying to enforce that, requires that all internet traffic be monitored or restricted. We also believe in the rule of law, and therefore seek to change the law through democratic process and representation."

    if you remove the ownership of "information", you will find that the people making the information will STOP making it. Thus, you will be sharing nothing.

    "We assert that restriction is not a good thing, and seek to change the law so that non-commercial sharing of information is no longer illegal, we believe that people and especially young people will support this and vote for us. When the law is changed, the activity will no longer be illegal and we can lawfully advocate it."

    If you share a song, while you might considering it "non-commercial", the people trying to sell it to the guy who just got it from you for free might think otherwise.

    I have to assume you are under 20, and likely still living in Mom's basement. Let us know when you finally get out in the world and create something, only to have a bunch of kids living in Mom's basement steal it from you.

     

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  45.  
    identicon
    Bettawrekonize, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 10:02pm

    Is there a pirate party in the United States and how do I sign up?

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 10:08pm

    "if you remove the ownership of "information", you will find that the people making the information will STOP making it. Thus, you will be sharing nothing."

    Prove to me that they will stop. Maybe some people will stop, but that doesn't mean ALL people will stop. People make free software under the GPL. If you remove the taxes that the RIAA puts on people for trying to distribute their music (ie: via online radio stations), perhaps more people will make music. Or if someone wants to make music and allow others to play it in restaurants without having to pay some unnecessary third party for a license, perhaps more people will make music. It would make it easier for them to communicate their music to others because now restaurants are more likely to play their music (since they don't have to pay some unnecessary third party for a license) and that gives the artist publicity. Publicity = more people want the music = more profits for artists = more incentive to make music. Now that should be between the artists and the restaurants, we don't need to pay some unnecessary third party (like the RIAA) taxes for a license. That only hinders artists from making music.

     

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  47.  
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    Joseph Young, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 10:17pm

    Re: The Pirate Party Name

    Agreed. I’m not exactly old and the old are staying younger longer. It’s a good name.

    The “getting free stuff” accusations and pirate jokes will die down very quickly. It makes a good first interview, but you can’t keep going through the same old stuff.

    Objects define their name. Names don’t define the objects to which they’re attached. People can get really hung up about naming. Naming pets. Naming children. It doesn’t really matter. Pretty soon they will have defined their name. It’ll be the most natural thing and you couldn’t imagine calling them anything else.

    The online world only accelerates the naming process. As a naming word, the word ‘twitter’ is awful. Now it’s a natural part of online discourse. What else would you call Twitter, but Twitter? Bing’s a stupid name as well. Either people will find it a great search engine and it’ll be the most natural thing to call it or it’ll die because it’s a terrible search engine, not because it has a silly name.

    Ten years from now, you’ll hear or read the name ‘Pirate Party’ and you won’t even think about where it came from. In your head, it’ll mean whatever the party stands for. Why wouldn’t you take the momentum that the word currently has?

    I’m off to join the Pirate Party…

     

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  48.  
    icon
    BobinBaltimore (profile), Jun 15th, 2009 @ 5:52am

    Re: SImple Definitions

    Thank you, AC, for putting this so succinctly. My whole point is that transitioning people from the "general public" state to the "in-the-know" state is troublesome. It remains to be seen whether this movement - globally - can make that leap. For the moment, I agree that the use of the Pirate Party name is a good for those in-the-know (being ironic, counter-cultural), but it may limit the growth to a mass movement unless it is accompanied by concerted efforts to education the general public.

     

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  49.  
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    Tor (profile), Jun 15th, 2009 @ 7:03am

    2/3 of Pirate Party voters don't think file sharing is the major issue

    According to the pre-election polls by the Swedish Television only 31% of the people who sympathized with the Pirate Party named file sharing as an important issue (or the most important - I'm not sure which of these that the diagram I saw represented).

    So it seems like that for two thirds of the PP supporters the right to privacy, civil liberties, etc. are more important than legalizing file sharing.

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 7:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Pirate party UK is in the process of forming

    There are few legal uses for guns, eh? Considering that I grew up on lean, healthy venison and meat from wild fowl, I would have to disagree. We literally bought beef one or two times per year. For about $50 or less per year in permits, we had enough venison, pheasant, goose, duck, and turkey to feed us for a full year.

    There are few legal uses for TPB? I would also disagree. There are TONS of legal uses for P2P file sharing, though many who could take advantage have still not figured it out. Twenty years ago, if you asked anyone how valuable a zero-cost communication, reccomendation, and distribution system could be, they would have gone on about how it would change the world. Only the manufactures and hawkers of plastic discs would have worried. Artists would have viewed it as the promised land, where they no longer needed a costly, profit-stealing label to be distributed. And guess what? That's pretty much the way it is now. Up-and-coming artists are gaining unprecedented exposure on their own, and the disc-hawkers (who still have a lot of money and thus a loud voice) are screaming that the world of music is ending. Well, it is, but only for them. Artists now have a massive, zero-cost distribution and promotion system that users are not only accepting of, but passionate about. If they can't figure out a way to capitalize on that (especially with TechDirt feeding successful ideas to them all the time), then they don't deserve to make a living any more than the bands who failed in the old, exploitative system.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 8:23am

    Re:

    oh god, I also can't help but LOL when I read stuff like this.

    "rove to me that they will stop. Maybe some people will stop, but that doesn't mean ALL people will stop. People make free software under the GPL"

    Yup, they will, for a while. But then they will have to get real jobs (because nobody is paying for programmers anymore), so they will spend most of their lives cleaning out the restrooms at Mickey-Ds rather than programming. It's one of the things that you learn when you check most of the people making shareware / freeware - either they are students (even students for life) with few actual responsibilities or restrictions on their time, or they are full time employees of tech firms doing stuff in their spare time. The tech companies pay them to do design and programming, which those tech companies sell for income. If they can't make income, the programmers have no jobs.

    Amazing how it works.

    "Or if someone wants to make music and allow others to play it in restaurants without having to pay some unnecessary third party for a license, perhaps more people will make music."

    Since the third party is paying the artists (the writers and such) it isn't like some third party is just showing up and getting rich. Total BS misinformation there. It shows to me a lack of understanding on how song writers actually make a living.

    "Now that should be between the artists and the restaurants, we don't need to pay some unnecessary third party (like the RIAA) taxes for a license."

    Oh good. Let's see, I am an artist and my music is played in 1000 restaurants. I bill each one once a year for the use of the music, so I have to make 3 phone calls per day to restaurants to work out the terms and then I have to invoice them, collect the money, do the accounting, make sure everything got paid, do collections, send past due notices, keep track of those places using my music without permission... wow, when do I actually play music? When do I actually write new music?

    Again, impractical concepts from someone who likely has never created anything in their life of value.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Ikonoclasm, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 9:27am

    Re: Re:

    "Yup, they will, for a while. But then they will have to get real jobs (because nobody is paying for programmers anymore), so they will spend most of their lives cleaning out the restrooms at Mickey-Ds rather than programming. It's one of the things that you learn when you check most of the people making shareware / freeware - either they are students (even students for life) with few actual responsibilities or restrictions on their time, or they are full time employees of tech firms doing stuff in their spare time. The tech companies pay them to do design and programming, which those tech companies sell for income. If they can't make income, the programmers have no jobs.

    Amazing how it works."

    That's how one business model works (with less and less success). Another involves giving the software away for free or at a reduced price and providing a service to maintain it. The cost of the product itself is subsidized by the company that will the provide an ongoing support service for the product. It's the model used by Microsoft for all of its corporate contracts.

    "Since the third party is paying the artists (the writers and such) it isn't like some third party is just showing up and getting rich. Total BS misinformation there. It shows to me a lack of understanding on how song writers actually make a living."

    Actually, those groups keep the majority (>50%) of the fees collected, so yes, I'd say they do just show up and get rich.

    "Oh good. Let's see, I am an artist and my music is played in 1000 restaurants. I bill each one once a year for the use of the music, so I have to make 3 phone calls per day to restaurants to work out the terms and then I have to invoice them, collect the money, do the accounting, make sure everything got paid, do collections, send past due notices, keep track of those places using my music without permission... wow, when do I actually play music? When do I actually write new music?"

    Why charge royalties at all? As you've correctly pointed out, it takes a disproportionate amount of effort to collect royalties, which are a small portion of an artist's income. The majority comes from doing what they do best, performing music. So, why put so much effort into collecting such a small source of income? The benefit of an artist having his music widely known outweighs the pittance he'll collect in royalties thanks to a litigious lobbying group hunting down and suing his fans. The more fans an artist has, the bigger the venue he'll be able to perform at. The bigger the venue, the more income he'll have.

    Collecting royalties, even in a base case scenario, is a losing strategy when the alternative is to increase the size of the fanbase without charging them for the music and performing to larger crowds where the artist keeps a significantly larger portion of the performance's profits.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Actually, those groups keep the majority (>50%) of the fees collected, so yes, I'd say they do just show up and get rich."

    Do they keep them because they don't have anyone to give them to? Do they use them to pay expenses? Please cite your source on this "fact".

    "Why charge royalties at all? As you've correctly pointed out, it takes a disproportionate amount of effort to collect royalties, which are a small portion of an artist's income. The majority comes from doing what they do best, performing music."

    Actually, funny this should come up. Poster Child Trent Reznor made it clear that he will no longer be performing, and in fact, called his show last night his "last show in the US ever". Some musicians are performers, some are song writers. Why force the song writers to perform just to live? It seems foolish, sort of like making engineers work for free and then paying them to paint whatever they design.

    "Collecting royalties, even in a base case scenario, is a losing strategy when the alternative is to increase the size of the fanbase without charging them for the music and performing to larger crowds where the artist keeps a significantly larger portion of the performance's profits."

    Again, you are proposing a business model that requires that the artist work twice - once to make the music (which is a very scarce thing) and then they have to go out and perform it over and over again (rather than making new music). Why? This seems like a real waste of a song writer's talents.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 12:25pm

    Re: Re:

    "Again, impractical concepts from someone who likely has never created anything in their life of value."

    If you want a third party, that's fine, but you shouldn't force others to have a third party. An artist should have the right to have his music played anywhere people want to play it (well, excluding blasting it next door in the middle of the night when I'm asleep or something like that of course) without having an unnecessary third party benefit. An artist COULD have a third party if he wants, I'm not denying him that opportunity. If you want a third party you are absolutely free to have one. But you can't force an artist to have a third party profit every time a restaurant plays his music if that's not what the artist wants. The artist should choose whether or not he wants to delegate his collections to a third party or not. In this way, he is free to act in his own best interest. If the third party really is helpful the free market will choose it freely on their own. If not, the free market will circumvent it and they should have that right (without laws prohibiting it).

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    All I'm saying is that the artists should have the freedom to choose. If the third parties really are beneficial then the free market of artists will gladly choose them. If not, then the artists should be free to circumvent that process. It should be up to the artists, that's all.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Bettawrekonize, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 12:31pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "So, why put so much effort into collecting such a small source of income? The benefit of an artist having his music widely known outweighs the pittance he'll collect in royalties thanks to a litigious lobbying group hunting down and suing his fans."

    Again, I don't mind the artist charging royalties or having a third party charge royalties (and profiting from it) IF HE WANTS TO. If he doesn't want to he should have the right to allow any restaurant to play his music without paying for some license or paying royalties or having some third party profit in any way. It should be left up to the artist, the artist is best qualified to act in his own best interest (not some third party lobbying the government to pass laws dictating how artists and restaurants should act in this regard).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Again, you are proposing a business model that requires that the artist work twice - once to make the music (which is a very scarce thing) and then they have to go out and perform it over and over again (rather than making new music). Why? This seems like a real waste of a song writer's talents."

    If the songwriter wants a third party to collect for him, a collection agency, no one is stopping him from hiring one. He is free to do so. Other artists may not want one and they should be free not to have some third party profit from their work if that's what they choose.

     

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  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Having laws that say that in order for an artist to have someone play his work some third party must benefit, even if the artist doesn't want that party to benefit, is practically extortion. We shouldn't have laws encouraging extortion.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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