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.

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Comments on “Pirate Party Wins Again In Germany”

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41 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

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!!

Ruud (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

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.

MrWilson says:

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?

Jay (profile) says:

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.

J says:

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.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

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.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

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.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

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.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

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.

Jonathan says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Seegras (profile) says:

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.

Rick Falkvinge (user link) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: 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.

zippy says:

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!

InnerPartisan says:

Re: 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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