Pirate Party Wins Again In Germany

from the momentum dept

It really appears that The Pirate Party is no fluke in Germany. After winning 9% of the vote in the Berlin parliament elections, and then 7.4% in Saarland, the party has now received 8.2% of the vote in Schleswig-Holstein. These are each local "state" elections, and there's another big one next week, in Northrhine-Westphalia, where they're apparently polling in a similar range. It seems clear that The Pirate Party is certainly surpassing the German Green Party as the preeminent 3rd party -- and it seems to be having an impact. As we noted, the Greens have tried to co-opt much of the Pirate Party's agenda as their own, and Germany's major political parties have started to show a much more reasoned approach to copyright as well.

And it's definitely getting increasing notice. Last week, we pointed to an op-ed piece in the NY Times about the Pirate Party in Germany, and this week, they've followed it up with a full article about the Party's success, which also discusses how the Greens are frantically trying to convince the younger generation that they're cool, too:
The Greens were once the insurgent activists on the political scene. Now founding members from the ’68 generation have started collecting their pensions. A Green campaign poster with a cursor arrow pointing at a Facebook thumbs-up icon carried a whiff of desperation to keep up with the Pirates.
Of course, it's worth noting a point that's been left out in many of the discussions about the success of the German Pirate Party: Germany has some of the worst copyright laws around, especially on issues like secondary liability. Perhaps those two things are linked... and perhaps those who keep pushing for more draconian enforcement of copyrights might want to take that into account. There's little to no evidence that such laws do anything to slow down infringement, but it sure seems to make people respect copyright law even less.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 2:53pm

    If only...

    If only elections in America were decided by the voters, then we in the United States* could have a Pirate Party too.


    *The one country in the world with more people in jail (numerically, per capita, & percentage; take your pick) than any other country on the planet--including China.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 3:00pm

    if only the success of the German Pirate Party could be echoed in a lot more places, perhaps there would be changes to other things apart from copyright law. things like making sure that countries respect their citizens, keep their own laws and tell the USA to keep their nose out of things that are nothing to do with them!!

     

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  3.  
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    Rabbit80, May 7th, 2012 @ 3:01pm

    Not to mention the PP beating the Lib Dems in the Bradford Ward in the UK getting 5% of votes last week!

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 3:14pm

    Arrr...

     

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  5.  
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    Ruud (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 3:15pm

    Another explanation

    A vote for the German Pirate Party is essentially an anti-establishment vote. Throughout Europe such votes are usually given to extreme right wing parties, but those have not been very popular in Germany since WW2.

    The Greens used to be the anti-establishment party. The fact that they are losing votes probably indicates that people now see them as part of the establishment.

     

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  6.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 3:18pm

    Re: If only...

    *The one country in the world with more people in jail (numerically, per capita, & percentage; take your pick) than any other country on the planet--including China.

    I guess that begs the question, how many executions occur in both countries? That may explain why China has less in prison, but I really don't know. According to wikipedia, China executes more people than any other country (but that is not the most per capita since China has more people.) The actual number is a state secret. They execute folks for fraud and other white collar crimes, which the US does not do.

     

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  7.  
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    Glen, May 7th, 2012 @ 3:18pm

    Now if the German judges wouldn't go all East Texas....

     

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  8.  
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    MrWilson, May 7th, 2012 @ 3:20pm

    If we see the Pirate Party actually get enough power to push through consumer-rights-friendly legislation somewhere, what are the "it's the law!" shills going to say? Will they make an about face and start parroting our views on current copyright laws by stating that the law isn't just because it doesn't take into account the interests of the all important corporate citizens?

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 3:26pm

    Re:

    Doubtful.
    Ruud is right. All it is is an anti-establishment vote in a political atmosphere of crisis and chaos in Europe.
    Extreme right wing parties with a racist agenda have also been winning big in France and Greece. Should we be jubilant about that?

     

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  10.  
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    Jay (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 3:39pm

    Technology difference

    I'm very interested in that technology utilized by the Pirate Party. Right now, I notice that the US has a lot of interference between candidates in office and their constituents. This is where the lobbyist comes in and usurps a message (IMO).

    So how is it that they keep the constituents on the same page to fight and vote for PP members?

    It may actually help here in the US to make them a viable third party, particularly in the House or the Senate as need be.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 3:46pm

    Re: Re: If only...

    I don't know, but I thought Texas was trying really hard to get back to the top of the list for executions.

     

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  12.  
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    PlagueSD (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 3:47pm

    They execute folks for fraud and other white collar crimes, which the US does not do.


    If they did that in the US, we'd have no politicans or lawyers...Wait, this is a bad thing?

     

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  13.  
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    J, May 7th, 2012 @ 4:09pm

    Saying that the Greens are trying to "co-opt" the PP's agenda is a bit unfair.

    At least at a European level, excessive 'intellectual property' protection has very much been on their radar for a long time -- and they've very much taken the lead role, at least in the European Parliament, in trying to get the ball rolling to do something about it.

    The Greens were absolutely instrumental in putting together the coalition which stopped the Software Patent Directive in 2003 -- they put full-time staffers and political capital into fighting it, right from the start, unlike any other political group; without their leadership we simply wouldn't have known how to work the system. And they have gone on being absolutely steadfast in trying to rein in IP-lunacy.

    MEPs like Eva Lichtenberger have made this their specialist issue in the European Parliament, and have been utterly dependable as a centre for campaigners to rally around. When the PP has got into the European Parliament, it is no surprise that it is the Green group that they have affiliated with.

    So this isn't some bandwagon the Greens are suddenly trying to jump on. In the EP at least they've been there from the start, and they've earnt their respect.

     

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  14.  
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    Rottweiler, May 7th, 2012 @ 4:25pm

    Yar!

     

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  15.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 4:38pm

    Re: Re: If only...

    They execute folks for fraud and other white collar crimes, which the US does not do.

    Yeah, those are crimes that the rich do. We just execute people for being poor.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 4:46pm

    Greens On The Arts

    This is the Australian Greens official platform:
    artistsí intellectual property rights to be protected

    Not surprising, as since the 1970's at least, artists, musicians and film-makers have been at the forefront of fighting ecological vandalism. You don't cut your core support adrift.

     

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  17.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 4:50pm

    Re: Technology difference

    It may actually help here in the US to make them a viable third party, particularly in the House or the Senate as need be.

    The hurdle to overcome with any PP member being elected in the US is our winner-take-all elections. That is, the candidate with the most votes (usually*) gets elected, everyone else gets nothing. So the Pirate Party could get 20% of the vote in every race and they'd end up with 0 members holding seats.

    *There are some situations of run-offs if no one gets 50%+1, but those are mostly limited to primary elections.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 5:11pm

    Re:

    Shiver me timbers!

     

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  19.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 5:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: If only...

    Yeah, those are crimes that the rich do. We just execute people for being poor.

    I certainly won't disagree with that, though I think it is more global than that. I think we tend to lock up more people for being poor too. We have a lot of people in jail on petty drug charges, which certainly could be handled better through other methods; and a lot of folks who use drugs but are too rich/connected to get caught doing the same. It's still the high-court/low-court thing, and it certainly isn't right, no matter what country it is in.

    I would love to see the pirate party appear here in the US, because, as was noted before on Techdirt, they appear to provide far more competition in reason than what we have now, which is almost nil due to a monopoly.

     

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  20.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 5:19pm

    Re: Re:

    Ruud is right. All it is is an anti-establishment vote in a political atmosphere of crisis and chaos in Europe.

    Wait a second, did you just equate the pirate party with extreme right wing racist agenda? Sure, it may be anti-establishment (as in anti-entertainment industry) but I have seen nothing to make me believe that it is either extremely right-wing or racist in its agenda.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, the PP is not racist.

    I'm just pointing out that in several recent elections in European states, the more extreme, usually marginal parties, have received a bigger percentage of the votes.
    This is about dissatisfaction with the establishment politicians, not so much about support for extremists.

     

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  22.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, the PP is not racist.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    I believe there is a shift being displayed. Like the SOPA protests, I believe more politicians are realizing the world over that the people just aren't liking politics as usual. I hope that this brings some change, regardless to whether or not it is the current politicians or the ones that replace them that bring about this change. Money cannot be an excuse to forget the will of their constituents.

     

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  23.  
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    Jonathan, May 7th, 2012 @ 6:41pm

    Re: Re: Technology difference

    Voting for a minor party candidate that doesn't end up taking the election has two useful benefits:

    * showing there is ground outside the two major parties which one of them had better take some action on soon if they want to prevent...
    * casting doubt on the legitimacy of the regime

    If you too noticed that W was to the left of where Obama is now (by deed only, since words are cheap) thank a Nader voter.

     

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  24.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 7:17pm

    Cool. Some of my ancestors came here from Schleswig-Holstein, Denmark.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Technology difference

    Voting for a minor party candidate that doesn't end up taking the election has two useful benefits:

    * showing there is ground outside the two major parties which one of them had better take some action on soon if they want to prevent...
    * casting doubt on the legitimacy of the regime


    You missed a third benefit. the minor party you vote for will never have to put into actions any of their weirder policies.
    The liberals in the UK have fallen foul of this.
    They were the popular third force until they actually grabbed some power. Now they are deeply unpopular.

     

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  26.  
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    Green Pirate, May 7th, 2012 @ 8:08pm

    co-opt? WTF? That's bullshit.

    "the Greens have tried to co-opt much of the Pirate Party's agenda"
    Most of the ideas that form the agenda of The Pirate Party were promoted by the Greens for many years before there was Pirate Parties.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 9:07pm

    If you are inclined to say that Germany has some of the worst copyright laws around, it would be helpful to explain why you believe this is so.

    As for secondary liability, it is a concept that is associated with tort law and has been around a very long time. The secondary liability law relating to copyright is the very same secondary liability law that pertains to torts in general (and in many criminal matters as well). It most certainly is not unique to copyright law, both in Germany and elsewhere.

     

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  28.  
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    Rikuo (profile), May 7th, 2012 @ 11:13pm

    Re:

    Mike has explained about Germany's copyright laws, many times before.
    For example, Germany is the only modern country not to have negotiated a deal with Youtube. This means that vast swathes of videos on Youtube can't be viewed in Germany.
    Also, GEMA, the copyright licencing agency, has almost dictatorial powers in Germany, for example, it demands royalties from Creative Commons music.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 7th, 2012 @ 11:42pm

    here in Edinburgh last week we had council elections. it was the first time i have seen the Pirate Party on the voting slip. i put them first, geens second. In the end they got just over 5% of the vote. It could be enough to get them scottish MP next elections. Good start.

     

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  30.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 8th, 2012 @ 12:20am

    Re:

    As for secondary liability, it is a concept that is associated with tort law and has been around a very long time. The secondary liability law relating to copyright is the very same secondary liability law that pertains to torts in general (and in many criminal matters as well). It most certainly is not unique to copyright law, both in Germany and elsewhere.

    Perhaps you should look up just how different secondary liability in Germany is compared to the US. Because you imply, totally incorrectly, that the two are equivalent. They are not.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 8th, 2012 @ 1:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    no they are racist, they have an extreme agenda

     

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  32.  
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    Seegras (profile), May 8th, 2012 @ 2:54am

    Re: co-opt? WTF? That's bullshit.

    Actually, quite a lot of Greens are now in the pirate party, because they actually cared most for freedom and just found the Greens the most freedom-loving of the bunch. Until the Pirate Party came along.

    But indeed, the Greens have gotten much more Intellectual Monopoly-unfriendly since the Pirate Parties are on the rise.

     

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  33.  
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    zippy, May 8th, 2012 @ 6:30am

    I don't know much about political statistics, so I'm not sure why single-digit percentages are all that exciting. It's not even close to a significant portion. When it gets up to 30, 40, or 50% or higher, then that would seem to be cause for excitement. But even then, that's still not enough for a majority. I guess I'm just not seeing what good a less than 10% representation can do. But please, do feel free to correct me, I'd be happy to better understand. Thanks!

     

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  34.  
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    Mick, May 8th, 2012 @ 7:27am

    Is the Pirate Party the libertarian party?

     

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  35.  
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    InnerPartisan, May 8th, 2012 @ 9:27am

    Re:

    Zippy, you seem to oblivious to the fact that Germany has a mixed-member proportional representation voting system. That basically means that small parties get representation in both houses, and do in fact become part of governments. You know, coalitions? Like in the UK right now?
    Case in point, neither the FDP nor the Greens ever had more than 15% of votes on the federal level, yet have been part of German governments, and influenced national politics immensly.
    I'm not saying the Pirates are there yet, but if they manage to keep present numbers the *will* have quite an impact on German politics.

     

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  36.  
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    InnerPartisan, May 8th, 2012 @ 9:30am

    Re:

    No. The closest thing to a libertarian party in Germany are the liberals (FDP).

     

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  37.  
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    Rick Falkvinge, May 8th, 2012 @ 10:37am

    Re: co-opt? WTF? That's bullshit.

    It's also a matter of priorities. If the Greens were given the choice between shutting down nuclear power and shutting down surveillance, they'd shut down nuclear power, whereas the Pirates would shut down surveillance.

    A political platform may look flat, but it isn't - and if you're polling at 10%, then at most, your top 20% of policies are going to become reality. What's in the other 80% doesn't matter at that point - saying "but we agree with this" is irrelevant if you never had any intention to make it real.

     

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  38.  
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    mudlock (profile), May 8th, 2012 @ 2:51pm

    Re: If only...

    If only, like Germany, we used proportional representation, then minor parties would be represented in government in proportion to their support.

     

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  39.  
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    Francisco George (profile), May 8th, 2012 @ 9:53pm

    Pirate Party in the US

    Hi all,

    Let me reassure you there a Pirate party in the US, http://www.pirate-party.us/ , so if somes want to help you are welcome on board. They are also local parties http://www.pirate-party.us/states

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 9th, 2012 @ 12:48am

    Re: Another explanation

    My wife voted for the Pirate Party here in Berlin. No, you are wrong. She didn't vote them as a protest vote and I also know of no other person who voted for that reason. The Pirates are just much more technologically up-to-date. They get the world we live in. If I could vote here (will be able to soon when I get the necessary years of residency) then I will vote for them too.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    Nina from Germany, May 13th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

    Re:

    Schleswig-Holstein is Germany... not Denmark.... you can google it... :-)

     

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


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