Pirate Party ALMOST Ejected From Festival For Giving Out Free Waffles After Vendors Selling Waffles Complained (Updated)

from the waffle-waffle dept

Update: Correcting this post as I misread how the situation ended, in which they were allowed to stay after they were almost ejected. I apologize for that wholeheartedly. The “tweets” in the middle were a little confusing and I read them to mean that they had been removed, but as many people in the comments pointed out that was incorrect. I’m sorry for the error, and, as always, strive to fix any such mistakes as quickly as possible.

One of the key things that we find in story after story around here is that those who have a particular business model seem to think that any disruption of that business model must be illegal (or, worse, immoral). Sometimes instances of this come from strange places. For example, the Swedish Young Pirates officially set up shop at a local municipal festival, where they had permission to make food and give it to attendees. They started making waffles and giving them away for free. What they didn’t realize was that others at the festival were trying to sell waffles, and they complained. The end result? Almost bye bye, young pirates (see update above). Yes, they got were almost evicted from the festival not for breaking any rules — but for annoying the existing waffle-sellers by disrupting their business models. Thankfully, they called the police, and were allowed to stay after first having to stop making waffles while everything was sorted out. It is, in many ways, the same story we write about all the time, just in a different context. Disrupting someone else’s business model is not a crime — and often (as in this case) makes things better for consumers. It’s just too bad so many “officials” kowtow to the legacy players and seek to shut down any and all innovation… though, sometimes, in the end, they come through and fix things.

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Comments on “Pirate Party ALMOST Ejected From Festival For Giving Out Free Waffles After Vendors Selling Waffles Complained (Updated)”

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171 Comments
Ninja (profile) says:

There goes Pirate Mike and his piracy apology. Just because you can copy the waffles without any restriction it doesn’t mean you can give them for free, that’s outright copyright theft. Won’t you think of the children of the waffle sellers? I won’t even mention counterfeiting and how we really needed SOPA and PIPA to deal with this kind of criminals.

/cluelessOoMPAALooMPAA

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Fine the bastards

Sweden has become very strongly split on issues of copyright since the pirate party has made its way to the top. Since the pirate party does not have a majority, it is the conservative ip-maximalists in charge and they are internationally known for being bad for inventors and other small businesses since they recieve most of their campaign contributions from the big companies (at least in europe).

silverscarcat says:

FREE WAFFLES?!

They shut down free waffles?!

Oh the humanity! Oh the disgust!

FREE WAFFLES IS GOD’S GIFT TO MANKIND!

How DARE those rat bastards try to take that way from us!

TO ARMS, MEN! TO ARMS!!

We’ll show those dirty legacy players that you cannot take away a man’s waffles and get away with it!!

NO WAFFLEIZATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!

Michael says:

Somebody ought to write a book about all the stuff that’s been going on. Call it ‘Sharing — The Crime of the 21st Century’ and give it away for free. Be sure to index every single politician, loobbyist, collection society, corporation, etc. that’s worked so diligently over the past several years to try and dictate our lives.

CK20XX (profile) says:

"Well, MY waffles do what his don't!"

If I were one of those vendors, I’d take a good look at those pirate waffles, even eat one myself, and then tweak my own recipe so I can say, “You call THOSE waffles? Boy, you haven’t tasted waffles yet until you try the ones I make!”

Basically, I’d have a lot of fun with it. I’m probably an anomaly though. See, I was a Sega kid growing up in the 16-bit era of home consoles, and the spirit of the epic duel between the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo pulses through my bloodstream. I suspect that makes me woefully old-fashioned though.

Anonymous Coward says:

Can someone explain the reasoning here to me in more detail? To me it looks like you’re trying to apply ideas from the internet to IRL to which I’m hesitant (as you’ve argued lots of times that the other way around, applying IRL rules to the internet doesn’t work).

More specifically, what should a company do in this theoretical what if situation: Your competitor purposefully tries to kill your business by consistently undercutting your products (waffles in this case), where the attacker knows both of you will makes losses (but since the attacker is an established company with more money it can afford to throw away some to kill their competition)?

Of course none of this remotely applies to the situation described here (to which I fully agree they should not be have been kicked out), I’m just worried about people abusing such a thing on purpose.

Note: I heavily support the pirate movement but I’m genuinely curious about this.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Re: ????

I would agree that analog to digital analogies are often clumsy, but the article is about how businesses react to their model being disrupted.

As for how to deal with a competitor undercutting a business, that is just basic economics and happens all the time. Abundance of a product or service naturally drives the price toward zero. Businesses deal with undercutting generally by providing a superior product or service or by differentiating their product or service.

Bitching about free waffles is just being a greedy asshat. All the vendors had to do was wait for the free supply to be exhausted. Free doesn’t work well with finite supply.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: ????

I think it’s also important to take into account the fact that this was a festival, in other words a temporary event. It’s not like the Young Pirates were out there undercutting the competition each and every day for several months.

Because of the Young Pirates, the other waffle vendors wouldn’t have made as much money at the festival, but they could still make lots of money the rest of the year. Therefore, it’s not very fair to compare this to unfair competition.

Think of how companies sometimes give away free products for a few days in order to promote their brand: nobody throws the unfair competition laws at them for that.

I understand the frustration of the waffle vendors, who probably paid a lot of money to be allowed to sell at the festival* and it turned out they couldn’t make all the profits they had hoped, however the festival should have had rules forbidding the giveaway of free food if that was going to be an issue. The vendors did not check there was such a rule, and the festival didn’t have the foresight to make one, therefore the Young Pirates shouldn’t have been evicted.

I would add that the festival organizers should have been happy to have people giving away free waffles, this just increases the popularity of the festival.

*I don’t know whether or not they paid money to have a stand; I’m just assuming that if it’s like most festivals and similar organized events then it’s quite expensive to set up a stand.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: ????

I think it’s also important to take into account the fact that this was a festival, in other words a temporary event. It’s not like the Young Pirates were out there undercutting the competition each and every day for several months.

I don’t see how it being a temporary event makes any difference.

Is handing out free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee coupons on the sidewalk in front of Starbucks illegal or immoral?

To me, it’s simply competition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 ????

It’s not fair competition, because one side is abusing the system to get a favorable position.

“Is handing out free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee coupons on the sidewalk in front of Starbucks illegal or immoral?”

Would you consider it fair and moral for the owners of a shopping mall to allow Starbucks to open an expensive new store, and on the day of opening, they rent Dunkin Donuts a stand in front for $1 a year, only for their charitible work, and instead DD uses it to give away coffee (not coupons, actual coffee)? Would you consider it worse if the federal government was sending DD money to pay for the coffee, which comes out of the taxes paid by Starbucks?

It’s unfair competition.

The political party wasn’t a food vendor – why should they be giving away food, which hurts other vendors?

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 ????

Would you consider it fair and moral for the owners of a shopping mall to allow Starbucks to open an expensive new store, and on the day of opening, they rent Dunkin Donuts a stand in front for $1 a year,….

Yes I would. That’s business. There’s no guarantee that you won’t ever face competition from unexpected sources.

… only for their charitible work, and instead DD uses it to give away coffee (not coupons, actual coffee)? Would you consider it worse if the federal government was sending DD money to pay for the coffee, which comes out of the taxes paid by Starbucks?

Wow. You must have some additional information about this I don’t have. What if they used donation money to pay for the waffles? What if they were giving away buttons and leaflets paid for with government money instead of waffles, would you bitch about the money then?

It’s unfair competition.

No one ever promised me life would be fair and I certainly don’t expect business to be fair either. Disruption happens.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 ????


It’s unfair competition.

No one ever promised me life would be fair and I certainly don’t expect business to be fair either. Disruption happens.”

Actually, the food vendors who paid a premium price for a limited number of food spaces felt that things were “fair”. Adding in an unlicensed free food source to disrupt their business isn’t a fair disruption, it’s unfair. They signed their contracts based on X, and instead were given Y.

They would likely be fully in their rights to sue the daylights out of the event organizer.

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 ????

Actually, the food vendors who paid a premium price for a limited number of food spaces felt that things were “fair”. Adding in an unlicensed free food source to disrupt their business isn’t a fair disruption, it’s unfair. They signed their contracts based on X, and instead were given Y.

Yes. There may be a contractual dispute between the organizer and the vendors. But I still fail see how it is “unfair competition”. The Young Pirates weren’t party to those contracts. If anything, it’s “unfair” to try to shut down the Young Pirates since they weren’t obligated to abide by those contracts anyways.

nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Remember when restaurants used to charge extra 2p-10p for packets of ketchup? Then some restaurants started giving them away for free with food and now you have the situation where very few restaurants charge for those little packets of ketchup.

In fact take the paper plates; plastic knives, forks and spoons; salt and vinegar etc… you’re not billed separately for these items when you order food – for all intents and purposes they’re free*

Now when the price of waffles means that waffles are no longer expensive to produce and distribute, neither are they considered a luxury commodity – then those who want to make money from waffles need to look at waffles like those tiny packets of ketchup – they are added value.

In effect, the baseline has risen. Sure if just you want a waffle you can get them for free over there, our waffles are free too… with a purchase of 1x topping and a cup of coffee, but those guys are not offering coffee or a range of toppings.

This is how a healthy competitive market works without the need for expensive waffle legislation that keeps the price of waffles artificially high and punishes those who give away waffles, or like to eat waffles. You can bet that those eating waffles also appreciate a choice of toppings and drinks that they are more than will to pay extra for to go with their free waffle.

And now I’m done waffling.

*It could be argued that the bill for your food includes the cost of these items but the same would apply to free waffles.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

> to me it looks like you’re trying to apply ideas
> from the internet to IRL

It’s like open source. Microsoft hates Linux and LibreOffice because they offer free waffles.

> what should a company do in this theoretical
> what if situation: Your competitor purposefully
> tries to kill your business by consistently
> undercutting your products (waffles in this case),
> where the attacker knows both of you will makes losses

If the product really should be free (eg, a plastic fork to go with your waffle), then maybe you should stop charging separately for plastic spoons.

If on the other hand, the product is worth something, and the company undercutting your price is engaging in what is called predatory pricing, then call the attorney general.

Example from 1950’s: IBM selling a crippled computer for less than it actually costs to build, in order to put competitors out of business. But soon you realize you need to add more memory — at an exorbitant price that more than makes up for having sold you the computer below the cost of its bill of materials. That’s predatory pricing.

So what exactly defines predatory pricing?

Is giving a gift predatory pricing? Is giving the same gift lots of times (eg, free waffles) predatory pricing? Is open source predatory pricing? Clearly open source is not, because the development cost is incurred only once — the cost to duplicate is essentially free.

What if the free waffles were subsidized by something else more expensive that was sold by the same vendor such as a large breakfast platter? But waffles are free, just like packets of ketchup at McDonalds.

Boost says:

Re: Re:

Don’t forget that you’ll need to buy a special fork along with your waffles designed to remove the bits of broken glass. Of course, the fork only works with the plate that the waffle was originally sold on and if you offer to share your waffle with anyone else, it won’t work. They could buy their own plate and fork to consume the tasty waffle, but the FBI will gladly pursue anyone offering to sell their own devices for removing the bits of broken glass.

ReallyEvilCanine (profile) says:

Re: the sin of omission

Can you explain why you have left out the part

Two reasons:
1) This is yet another sensationalist item designed to attract views.
2) European countries are not the US and have different legal systems, something Mike loves when it’s in line with his opinions and something he doesn’t understand when not.

He can bitch and moan about the WSJ all he wants. At the end of the day he’s no better.

ReallyEvilCanine (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: the sin of omission

Oh noes! You called me a troll! So you probably don’t realise that Mike’s posted stories I’ve submitted.

You’re totally cool with Mike sacrificing his integrity for page views. I don’t really give a shit about his SEO and constant self-referential links. That’s the game. But what does bother me is the bullshit sensationalism he resorts to and his utter unwillingness to accept that the EU has different laws, just like US states have different laws.

Feel free to be a boot-licking sycophant. It does me no harm. But know that if you dare make a claim about me I will respond. You toady.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 the sin of omission

“So you probably don’t realise that Mike’s posted stories I’ve submitted.”

So? Mike’s posted stories submitted by ACs before (who then instantly attacked him for not reporting it in the way they wanted/omitting content that was actually not omitted).

If you don’t want to be accused of being a troll, try not a) launching straight into personal attacks and conspiracy theories and b) not then launching into personal attacks and “us vs. them” bullshit when faced with someone who disagrees with your personal insults.

For example, instead of attacking Mike, whining about his lack of EU legal knowledge and then attacking anyone who questions you, perhaps try explaining which legal concpet he has misunderstood?

“You toady.”

You obnoxious moron. Sorry, but I only have your comment to go on, and that’s how it reads.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: the sin of omission

“European countries are not the US and have different legal systems”

Something that never stops the trolls from attacking both them and those of us who live there. I’d check your posting history to see if you’re being a hypocrite here, but look at that, no login and therefore no posting history. Hmmm…

“He can bitch and moan about the WSJ all he wants.”

Would you like to either a) defend the WSJ’s woefully inaccurate “journalism” or b) provide something other than whining yourself to address Mike’s article? If not, you aren’t exactly changing minds here.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Bias does not mean taking sides. Bias means not treating one side or position as fairly as the other.

No Einstein, I had no questions what “side” Techdirt is on. The issue is not what they support, it’s how they support it. Hiding half of the story to create more controversy and gain more support is bias, and I was just letting them know that I don’t think resorting to such tactics makes them look good.

So before you climb on your pedestal, take a condescending tone and say you are “shocked” as if I had said something really stupid, why don’t you work on your reading comprehension skills and perhaps take some time each day to learn the definition of a few words?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Not really. Mike was simply stating the truth – traditional media outlets are not necessarily any better than blogs when it comes to bias, professionalism or fact checking. Simply saying “blog” doesn’t make the source unreliable, just as saying “newspaper” doesn’t mean that they’re a paragon of quality journalism.

That this blog may have proven itself to be biased at some point afterwards does not undermine the point.

Tony MC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

True. But i still hope that Mike either redacts the article (and the headline), or posts a correction. We all make mistakes, and i sincerely hope it was an accident. Some of the comments state that the original article doesn’t make it clear that pirates weren’t actually kicked out – this may very well be what happened.

Ben S (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Look at the article Mike links, it states in that article that there was a series of tweets done by the guy running things at that booth. First tweet was that people were trying to complain to the manager but he was busy, next the manager ordered them evicted and brought security guards, next Young Pirate called the police, security guards backed off, but waffles were no longer being made, and finally waffles were able to be made again.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Surprise: there are different kind of blogs.

There are news blogs.
There are law blogs.
There are opinion blogs.
There are cooking blogs.
There are Shakira fan club blogs.

Not all blogs have the same standards. That doesn’t make them more or less credible. And news blogs aren’t inherently less credible than the paper versions because they have “blog” in it.

Certainly Mike wasn’t implying ALL blogs are credible, and definitely he wasn’t saying that ALL blogs are news blogs. So no, it doesn’t “go contrary” to anything (point the part in Mike’s previous article where it says that a blog is automatically a credible news source).

llortamai says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Agreed. And if Pirate Chubby Mike hides enough half-stories then a lot of people will stop coming here. I won’t be one of those people, but other, quieter, less trollish voices will leave.

It is ABSOLUTELY his prerogative to leave out whatever information he likes. Hell, he can do nothing but write stories about clown shoes being copyrighted. However, not giving all of the information will just drive people away. Don’t shoot the messenger, just like you don’t want businesses to cry foul at Mike because he brings a message to them. Well, unless you like double standards.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

He “left it out” because this post isn’t actually about evicting a waffle giveaway from a festival. It’s about how the standard response to business model disruption is “it is illegal”/”it is immoral”/”sue them”, instead of the more appropriate “reevaluate the business model”.

Tony MC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Would this story make less of a point if Mike just said “well, in the end they had to call the police and they were allowed to stay there and give away the waffles”? No. But instead, Mike chose to tell us that pirates got kicked out for giving away waffles rather than pirates that were *almost* kicked out for giving away waffles, but in the end were allowed to give away the waffles after police got involved.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It is not good journalism to leave out the details explaining the objective situation. Even though his point is clear and good, he is taking a tangent while leaving the situation looking like a onesided abuse from societys side and that is unfortunate. There is no need for there to be doubt about what went on. Reality is scary enough as it is!

Tony MC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“It’s a blog, he doesn’t owe you anything” is a stupid argument, and i think even Mike himself will agree. Techdirt isn’t your average Shakira fan blog, it is a well respected publication (well, at least in certain circles) and they stand behind quite a few political and activist efforts, and had respected people post here many times. It earned its reputation by providing news and opinions that can be trusted and are based on actual facts. To do otherwise would be to alienate its fanbase. You’re not doing any justice to Techdirt by acting like a fanboy.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“Good journalism”, “journalistic standards” are stupid arguments to make. There are different kind of standards, and not all are equally important to everyone. Acting like any “well respected publication” has to follow some arbitrary standard set by some arbitrary person (why journalistic standards? why doesn’t he need to follow “good engineering standards” or “good law school standards” or “good law enforcement standards” or “good software interoperativity standards”?).

It’s even more stupid to try to fit a publication into a niche because YOU want it there or YOU think it belongs there.

The Groove Tiger (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

If you’re not arguing for journalistic standards, why are you replying to a comment arguing against how so and so is “good journalism” and then calling it stupid?

Except to shoot down a strawman you made about how the comment apparently was “a blog doesn’t owe you anything!” which wasn’t what was stated. What was stated was: it’s not good journalism to not be journalism at all, too.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You forget, that every single time someone reports something, information is dropped. EVERY SINGLE TIME. It’s a matter of /what/ is dropped that you want to be careful about. I don’t think, for example, that reporting the shoe sizes of the pirate party people in this context would be at all meaningful. Precisely for the same reason, the ending of the story can be dropped, because it was not relevant to the argument at hand, which is to question how business relates to disruption. (Cry at authorities. Every. Single. Fucking. Time.) The fact that the pirates were at the end allowed to sell their waffles and the argument that it should have been reported COMPLETELY. FUCKING. MISSES. THE. POINT. Please stop being idiots.

Tony MC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It does indeed go aside the point of the article, which is indeed about how businesses react to disruption, in a nutshell. However, while shoe sizes are completely irrelevant to the story, the fact that the pirates weren’t ejected goes directly against the headline.

Now tell me, how many times did Mike write about public officials saying something that is only partially true, inaccurate or misleading? How many times Mike has posted “facts” about ACTA/TPP/PIPA/SOPA/whatever that weren’t actually true?

The article headline clearly says – Pirate Party ejected from festival. Were they? No. This is a clear exaggeration of what actually happened, and can and will be seen as bias. Such an omission is shameful. And mind you, I am not biased against Mike. I am a long time Techdirt reader. I recommend this blog to all my friends.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Don’t waste your time. Mike routinely uses inaccurate, misleading headlines to score a point and ignores elements of the story that don’t fit his narrative. The throngs of sycophants eager to be spoon fed his propaganda are not particularly eager to hear anything that other than might disrupt that narrative. Masnick’s a funny guy, when it suits him he’s a “journalist” when he gets called on his misuse of facts and headlines, he’s a “blogger”. Actually, he’s simply a nut job with an agenda.

DannyB (profile) says:

This is as bad as . . . open source. Vendors sell software. Then some pirate decides to write high quality software and give it away for free!

“They can’t be allowed to do that!” — this six word quote was from a coworker of mine a decade ago. He said it after I had answered all of his questions about open source and he finally understood it. He kept going back to “but how do they make their money”. I explained it wasn’t about money. It was about good waffles, er, I meant software.

Of course, now open source is in everything.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I’m going to start a business that rends the services of “helpers”.
Basically you pay us, and we send an agent who will open doors for you on your way, carry your shopping bags, pick up items you drop…

Then I’ll sue anyone who holds a door for somebody, offers to carry an old lady’s bags or picks up something somebody accidentally dropped. I know this will make the world a shitty place, but these good samaritans are stealing my business!
If I have to, I will even patent this service.
I will also lobby for the government to require people to have a license before they are legally allowed to help anyone. Think about it: it’s dangerous to be helped by non-professionals. That guy holding the door for you, if he isn’t licensed to hold doors open, he might accidentally let go of it and it could hit you in the face. Not to mention criminals who might perform these good deeds to gain their victims’ trust before mugging them.

Anonymous Coward says:

There’s no “innovation” in giving out free waffles. That’s just the worst form of undercutting in a capitalistic system. You can live with someone who sells something cheaper than you (e.g. boast that your materials are of better quality, thus the product is more expensive, or perhaps reduce your profit margin), but you can’t compete with someone who is giving something away for free.

I wish everyone could have everything for free (energy, clean water, healthy food) but in order to do this you first have to “handle” the current system. The “young pirate” could have charged the minimum cost of his materials, in order to show that he is indeed a new parameter to the system and that others have to prove their products are better than his in order to sell any. He instead chose to give his products away for free (as if he was helping the poor), not to GIVE something BACK to his community (he could have just gone to the church soup kitchen) but to ANNOY the other nearby merchants (regardless if they deserved it or not).

This kind of immature behavior is what gives free-movements a bad name. Making everyone capable of producing their own food (back yard crops), clean water (distilled rain water) and energy (solar panels, etc.) is a very important, self-preservation, move, that should not be mistakenly compared to this type of “sticking it to the man”. Be careful who you support and why.

Killercool (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You compete with free by making a better product. You make your waffles crispier, sweeter, fluffier.

I don’t eat food that is only free. I eat GOOD food, as long as it is worth the price. If your food is bad, then it’s not worth free.

You compete with free by focusing on making A profit, not having a larger profit MARGIN.

If the competition’s product is better AND free, you REALLY suck at your job.

Or, it’s not what they’re really selling. In this case, they were selling you waffles for the price of showing you their actual wares, their political stance.

ChrisB says:

Re: Re:

What are you talking about?

> That’s just the worst form of undercutting in a capitalistic system.

McDonalds has free coffee days, which tend to correspond with Tim Hortons “roll up the rim” promotion. I benefit if these giants want to fight.

> could have charged the minimum cost of his materials

You command economy people just love to monkey with the free market, and then get confused when it collapses under the weight of your idiotic regulations. Just like France, who are going to fine businesses who fire employees. That it, problem solved, no unemployment, right?

> not to GIVE something BACK to his community

So if he put some stupid sign up saying, “Free waffles for the Cancer”, suddenly its okay? That is why pink ribbons are everywhere: to fool people like you into feeling good about buying stuff.

> Making everyone capable of producing their own food, clean water, and energy

This is crazy. If everyone tried to make their own food, we’d starve to death. What about people in areas where there is not a lot of rain? Solar panels are as cheap as they have been in years. Enough so that North American manufacturers are going bankrupt left and right. If you want to live off the grid, go ahead, but it is not scalable. Do you want everyone in the woods, crapping in rivers and cutting down trees for their wood-burning stove? You are living in a dream-world.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

So let’s say that the Young Pirates, a government funded youth organization (http://www.thelocal.se/16978/20090117/) were allowed to give away, in this case, free waffles at the festival in order to advertise their group and “cause”. Let’s also say that they kept coming to all the summer festivals, one after another, give away free waffles, water bottles, even beer.

The other vendors, who did not have a government fund backing them up, would eventually give up and go home, allowing the YP to be the only vendor at these concerts.

At some point the YP decide that they can’t afford to spend any more of their funds to feeding festival-goers; that they have advertised themselves enough. What happens next? No vendors at the next festival. Oh my, the astonishment of the unaware people who did not bring their own food. Until a frustrated vendor finds out about it and returns to the festivals, and starts charing three or four times his previous prices, in order to make up for the old losses (or just because he can).

Then the other vendors will return one by one, gradually undercutting each other until the prices come to a homeostasis. This new standard price will probably be higher than the old one, before the pirates came.

Now, tell me: do you still think that the pirates’ disruption/anarchy movement helped the consumers, or the vendors?

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

ladies and gentlemen, the reason why i have Very little respect copyright maximalists and american-political types in general (specific exceptions excepted).

socialism has NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS ISSUE.

further, if you want to get into all the IP nonsense, socialism still has nothing to do with it, but the Valid objection to socialism is an excess of state interference and control. i would like to point out that, in the case of IP, that interference and control comes in the form of the creation and protection of Monopoly Rents in the form of copyright and patents.

absent government intervention, those Would Not Be Things.

so… yeah…

i mean, you could make a case complaining about anarchy, maybe, if you really wanted to, but Socialism?

seriously, get back under your rock.
*evil muttering about stupid-right-shifted US politics and cold-war era propaganda*

Anonymous Coward With A Unique Writing Style says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t think you know what the word “socialism” means. I’ll give you a hint, it has nothing to do with “free”.

But I wouldn’t expect a copyright-tard (which is my new term for morons who have no idea how a free market actually works, without government granted monopolies) to know the actual meanings of said words. Ad homs and moronic comments that make no point are more your forte.

Cory of PC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

And this is part of the reason why I hate using slang and swear words. With my mind being on the literal side, I want to use words by their original definitions, not by their perverted definitions people are using today.

It also makes me want to say: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means” the next time I hear someone use a word that really irks me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

That is quite a horrible rant…
Free is a very common occurance. In this case the waffles are a political advertisement for the Young Pirates. It is a question about how the festival chose to set up their rules for selling the stands you can question if that is your point.
You sometimes have to compete with free, but since it is a temporary advertisement with a very basic product or in bundled products, we are talking a completely different world of qustions.

Evolve your business or die.

I would say that the evolution-demand is and should be on the side of the waffle-stand in this situation since it wants to compete with free. He will never sell quite as much as if the sponsored stand did not exist, but it is a question of getting the best out of a more or less heads-on competition situation.

I would suggest selling the waffles with blueberry gel and acorn syrup instead of sugar and strawberry marmelade and the waffle stand still has a chance to compete.
It does not take a genious to avoid head-on competition and if it makes your complaints moot points your arguments need some work.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You can live with someone who sells something cheaper than you (e.g. boast that your materials are of better quality, thus the product is more expensive, or perhaps reduce your profit margin), but you can’t compete with someone who is giving something away for free.

Nonsense. You can compete with free the same way. Offer a good or service that is better (or viewed as better) than what is offered for free.

Two words:
Bottled Water

He instead chose to give his products away for free (as if he was helping the poor), not to GIVE something BACK to his community (he could have just gone to the church soup kitchen) but to ANNOY the other nearby merchants (regardless if they deserved it or not).

Nonsense. From the article:
“The Swedish Young Pirates association had a tent at a local municipal festival, and were handing out free waffles as an attraction.”

They were not purposefully doing it to annoy other vendors. They were doing it as a promotion. I’ll guess they were promoting their political views – trying to get people to sit down and listen to them in exchange for free waffles. Whether its politics or business, this is done all the time. Geeze, go to any tech event or business fair and you come back loaded with free stuff (otherwise known as swag) for paying attention to someone at their booth.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

i always like to point out when someone brings up the bottled water argument, that in places like where i live, where the tap water’s actually really good, the product is the Bottle. the water is a bonus. hehehe. (sorta like how publishers like to think they’re in the business of content, but really they’re in the business of convincing random citizens to fund the ink and paper industries.)

not that that’s terribly on topic.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

That’s the beauty of the argument in a way, as not only is bottled water “competing with free”, different consumers in different places will buy for different reasons.

Some might buy the water because it’s better quality. Some will buy for portability. Some might buy because they prefer the taste. Some buy because of the brand name. Some will buy every time they need water, some will refill with tap water or another liquid and only rebuy when they have to.

Yet, their industry thrives depsite “competing with free”, nobody tries suing a customer because they dared to refill with a different liquid, dared to refill from the tap at a festival instead of buying a $5 bottle or tries suing other for providing cheaper water.

It might be a detour from the current conversation, but it’s still a very nice anlogy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

How is water free exactly? There are laws that make it illegal for you even to collect rain-water. You either buy it from your water supplier (public or private, depending on where you live) or you buy it bottled.

They would even charge for our air supply if they could shove us all in an air-tight city and make us think the air outside is polluted and we have only to breathe their “clean & filtered” air. (spoiler alert?)

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

How is water free exactly? There are laws that make it illegal for you even to collect rain-water. You either buy it from your water supplier (public or private, depending on where you live) or you buy it bottled.

Where I live most of the water comes from ground wells. Sure you pay a negligible amount for the electricity to pump it, but a hand pump would work just fine.

As for the rain water collection laws, yes that is true in some areas. But there are also plenty of other areas that promote such activity, even to the point of giving tax breaks for purchasing rain collection equipment.

http://google.com/#&q=rainwater+collection+tax+break

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“How is water free exactly?”

It falls from the sky at regular intervals, how can you get freer than that?

“There are laws that make it illegal for you even to collect rain-water.”

In most places, no there’s not.

“You either buy it from your water supplier (public or private, depending on where you live) or you buy it bottled.”

Or a I piss into a filtration system after downing 10 beers and filter it for the following day. The choice is mine, and I may just choose to pay for the more expensive option. Is that a problem?

That One Guy (profile) says:

For all those bashing them for undercutting the other waffle makers...

I know this will probably come across as downright obscene to some of you, but consider this simple little mantra any time you get the kneejerk reaction to object to something like this:

‘Competition is not illegal. Disrupting someone’s business model, assuming no laws are broken, is also not illegal.’

Anonymous Coward says:

just because the waffle sellers complained, didn’t mean the waffle givers had to be evicted. if anyone should have been evicted, it was the officials for being biased and protecting one group only. hope there is a court case over this, but i doubt if the Swedish Young Pirates will go that far. shame really, because had the outcome been reversed, you can bet what action would have taken. this is the usual case of ‘we cant make money because free stuff is available, so kill the free stuff’. nothing like innovation and this is nothing like innovation!

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s becoming more and more common here that Mike exposes his incredible bias, and can’t help himself but post up stories that show how ignorant he really is.

Mike, have you ever tried to run a show like that? The waffle sellers (and those selling other food) had to pay a decent sum to rent the space. They have a short period of time to make that money back and turn a profit. When someone else comes in, using what was likely a cheap or even free political party space, and starts giving away what they are trying to sell, it’s just plain wrong.

It’s not about piracy, it’s not about the pirate party. It’s about right and wrong, plain and simple.

It shows both the Pirate Party and you in a very unfavorable light. It shows that you really have very few morals left.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The waffle sellers (and those selling other food) had to pay a decent sum to rent the space.

And the young pirates didn’t? They used electricity supplied from Zeus, equipment provided by Allah, man power from Amon Ra… SRSLY?

..using what was likely a cheap or even free political party space,and starts giving away what they are trying to sell, it’s just plain wrong.

Likely. Please present evidence. Also, they had a plan. Could we tell that those pesky waffle sellers were trying to sell what you were giving away for free?

It’s about right and wrong, plain and simple.

This dichotomy is neither plain nor simple. If you are catholic, doing a threesome might be wrong and offensive for you. But it is not for an atheist with different morals. Both of you do agree (usually) that killing ppl isn’t right though. So it’s not plain and simple.

It shows both the Pirate Party and you in a very unfavorable light. It shows that you really have very few morals left.

Actually, your reply shows you in a very ignorant and trollish light. I won’t talk about morals as I’ve explained it before it’s not the case.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“And the young pirates didn’t? They used electricity supplied from Zeus, equipment provided by Allah, man power from Amon Ra… SRSLY?”

Generally, at events like this, vendors pay a high price for their space (sometimes even a percentage of take), while political parties often get either a freebie or certainly a very light rate for similar space.

They also often get electricity as part of the package. Event organizers generally think they are going to have a TV to show video or perhaps a display with some lights – not a griddle.

Evidence? I have organized public trade show style events in the past, and have dealt with both political parties and charities.

“This dichotomy is neither plain nor simple. If you are catholic, doing a threesome might be wrong and offensive for you. But it is not for an atheist with different morals. Both of you do agree (usually) that killing ppl isn’t right though. So it’s not plain and simple.”

It is rather plain and simple. It’s not about some church inflicted moral system, it’s about respect for your fellow man and their situations. Do you honestly think it’s fair for the waffle sellers to have to pay for space, licensing, and the like, while the political party does it for free?

It’s not about some crappy church morals. It’s about consideration for others. Something sorely lacking in your post, and on Techdirt in general.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I have organized public trade show style events in the past, and have dealt with both political parties and charities.

Still not evidence it happened in this case. Let’s suppose it was a charity organization giving the waffles for free to promote their cause. Does it change a thing? Or you are too biased?

Giving waffles disrupted pretty much every stand selling sweets and probably the foodies as a whole but as others said, do a better job and ppl will buy. Companies disrupt each other businesses all the time offering discounts (often eating into the material cost itself) and free samples just to fck up the competition.

As for the distinction between right and wrong, it is not plain and simple. I used two pretty opposite sides as an example. Your morals is clearly different than mine. And the fact that there is a discussion here proves my point. Your morals are not absolute. As aren’t mine. Te YP weren’t doing anything illegal and I go back to the charity example: it’s not wrong. Guess who has some weird morals here?

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Moron. I’m just going to copy and paste a comment from up above.

“I know this will probably come across as downright obscene to some of you, but consider this simple little mantra any time you get the kneejerk reaction to object to something like this:

‘Competition is not illegal. Disrupting someone’s business model, assuming no laws are broken, is also not illegal.'”

SO FUCKING WHAT that the YP were giving away free waffles! Consumers do not and never will give a damn how much work or how much money you have sunk into developing your business. Saying to the customer, “Buy our product for $X because it cost us $X+Y to set up” is the absolute worst form of “advertisement”.
The for-profit waffle sellers do not have a divine mandate to make back all that they spent. What they have is a CHANCE to do so. If they’re charging $3, and the YP charged $1, would you still be complaining about them not being allowed to earn a profit? No, in this case, it was complete legal, fair competition happening. Both the for-profits and the YP had their own materials and set their own prices: one was for money, the other was free.

Chris Brand says:

Re: Re:

To me, the fault seems to lie with the festival organizers.

They charged food vendors for space to sell food and then gave other people permission to give food away (“they had permission to make food and give it to attendees”). If I were one of the food vendors, I’d be asking for my money back, asking the festival to change this policy or not going to the next one.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

And why do you ASSUME that anyone has to ‘turn a profit’???

The YP party was there to spread their message, not to make a profit.

Why is ‘making a profit’ more important than ‘spreading a message’ in your mind? Can you even grasp the difference or has greed clouded your mind so that everything is boiled down to dollars and cents?

JS says:

Disrupting someone else’s business model with your own product (one you worked to create) is fine. This is what happened with the waffles.

Disrupting someone else’s business model by copying someone else’s work (ie. file sharing) is not fine. You didn’t put in the time or work to create that product the other person did.

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Disrupting someone else’s business model by copying someone else’s work (ie. file sharing) is not fine. You didn’t put in the time or work to create that product the other person did.

Agreed. It is wrong to sell copies of digital goods. But I think your example is not quite correct, as the name says it’s SHARING, none of the parts are profiting from any sale. Sometimes a few enlightened ppl set up and provide a service that enables easier sharing and profit from the traffic they get via donations and advertisement. That’s also ok since file sharing also involves open source/free content.

Anonymous Coward says:

While the headline from the referenced article did say “Evicted”, the body of the article states they weren’t actually evicted. The manager ordered an evection, but the police intervened and no evection took place.

The vendor tried and FAILED to shutdown the pirates free waffle give away.

In the minutes that followed the situation escalated quickly. Nipe tweeted, in sequence:

?? Status update on waffles: the giveaway continues. The responsible manager at the festival is busy and doesn?t have time to speak to us.?

?? Young Pirate is now being evicted from the festival. Security guards are on location, as well as the manager who has ordered the eviction.?

?? We called the police. The security guards are pulling back. No waffles being made right now. Our tent remains.?

?? Young Pirate is now making waffles again!?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The counter argument to this will be that this information is only available if you click through to the original link. An argument I think has some merit. I’m normally a techdirt fan, but the article definitely makes it seem that they were successfully evicted. Which is misleading. I think an update would probably be a good idea.

Pirate Party Ejected From Festival…

Yes, they got evicted from the festival not for breaking any rules…

It may or may not be pertinant to the argument being made, but it is pertinant to know that the system in place there stopped this insane overreaction attempt.

Jamie Deitchman (profile) says:

I'm going to side with the Waffle Vendors.

You know, in this instance, I am going to side with the Waffle Vendors.

The article and a lot of the comments treat this as a disruption to a business by a competing business.

But the Pirate Party is not in the Food Vending business. They are a political party, and they are mixing it up with people who probably had to pay a fee to be vendors at this festival. Not Big Chains either, but people who travel from Festival to Festival, buying just enough food to use up before moving along. I am certain that those vendor’s knew before they signed up that they would have to compete with other vendor’s selling food, and were prepared for that.

But to compete with a political group, who does not need to make a profit from the food they serve, is impossible. If it were another vendor giving away free waffles, they would be limited by their costs/funds, etc. They would be forced, eventually, to start charging for Waffles, and things would return to a Supply/Demand/Tasty Delicious Waffles system.

Furthermore, the Person/Company that organized the Festival is most likely running a business themselves. It only makes sense to keep your vendor’s happy, as they provide a needed service to the patrons, and provide you with income. Is the Young Pirate Party going to be giving away Free Waffles for all of your future events? If so, by all means, piss off the Waffle guys, and probably the other nearby vendor’s of non-waffle food.

This is not a Copyrigt issue, or making infinite goods like mp3s artificially scarce; this is real world product, and real world business. Politics has no business here.

Gwiz (profile) says:

If it were another vendor giving away free waffles, they would be limited by their costs/funds, etc.

What if their business is selling waffle makers and they rent space at this festival so they can give waffles away in order to sell waffle makers? They don’t need to make a profit from selling waffles either.

Is that disruption OK in your book? There is a lot of grey area when talking about disruption in business.

Jamie Deitchman (profile) says:

Re: Waffle Makers Manufacturing Inc.

Good point Gwiz. If the Waffle Maker Machine Company were giving away free Waffles, would that be ok?

I think we have to look to our old friend common sense, to see what would happen here. First, Is this the kind of place where Companies Sell Waffle Makers? Let’s just say yes, for the sake of debate. (But when is the last time you saw people walking around the Blues Festival with a Microwave?)

I would offer as conjecture that the Waffle Maker Vendor would most likely offer a small sample of Waffles, not the entire Waffle. That might even HELP the waffle Vendor. Either way, the Waffle Vendor should still have been given prior notice that someone would be competing with their exact same food product for free.

The point I was hoping to make, and will try harder to do here is, The Vendors are doing business with the Festival Organizer. They are the customers to the Festival, they have a right to complain, and they had an expectation of fair competition. They entered an agreement with the Festival Godfather to sell Waffles there. Should the Festival Don have allowed the Pirate Party to give away food? Probably not. At the very least, the Waffle Nostra should have asked “what kind of free food, and in what quantity?” tot he Pirates before agreeing.

Furthermore, as a Waffle Vendor, they are not demanding that free waffles never be given away, or that all the waffle making equipment should be destroyed or only be licensed to approved Waffle Vendors. They just wanted what they expected when they purchased their right to be at the festival in the first place.

It seems to me that a lot of people want to see a big bad company trampling the rights of young Pirates to give away free Waffles, when in reality, you have a few small businesses and a Political Party BOTH that got put in a bad situation due to a lack of communication and planning at the fault of a third party (the organizer).

You be the champion for the politicians, I will be the champion for the Tasty Delicious Waffle Vendors.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Waffle Makers Manufacturing Inc.

“First, Is this the kind of place where Companies Sell Waffle Makers? Let’s just say yes, for the sake of debate. (But when is the last time you saw people walking around the Blues Festival with a Microwave?)”

I agree with most of your points, but I’ve been to many places where the product being sold was not the one being given away. Examples would include free CDs, free T shirts, free glowsticks and – yes – free food. The fact that nobody expects people to buy a waffle maker at the same time as the waffles are sold does not mean that people selling waffles should have the right to shut down those who give them away. The fact that I had a glowstick promoting a movie given to me should not allow a glowstick vendor to shut them down just because they’re annoyed that I might have otherwise bought one..

As you later hint, this is essentially a matter of expectation. If the waffle sellers objected to the situation in front of them, it’s either a case of the organiser not creating the correct expectations or them expecting something that wasn’t in their contract. Neither of which justifies trying to shut down a 3rd party vendor who was not privy to their agreement.

Unless the pirate party had signed a contract that said they couldn’t give away waffles, it’s the organiser and waffle sellers’ problem, not the people giving away food.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Waffle Wars....

So now that we are done with the ZOMG Mike is an evil biased dick lying to everyone brigade, can the grownups talk about the microcosm of our lives this is?

Someone entered the marketplace with something disruptive to the status quo.
The legacy players first and only response was to scream how unfair it was and use their influence to stop the disruptor.
When trying to get the people in charge to “fix” the problem, it came to light it wasn’t illegal.

Now who can see what will come next?
Do you think the legacy players will all look for ways to make their offerings look better, or will they use their economic might to change the law blocking anyone from ever giving away free food at the event?
Because purchasing these favors will cost the waffle makers they will feel free to triple their price, because they now have total control of the waffle market at the festival.
If someone tries to bring in something else, they will just demand those get blocked like the original disruptor.

And that is the story we have seen time and time again in the market. The legacy players hate any change, and rather than try anything new… they just crush the new. They use their money to buy more control and rules to make it harder for anyone else to compete with them.

Wish you had seen my submission Mike, had the whole story with them going back to waffle making. Then we could have had a productive talk about how this was a replay of actual life, and how most likely the waffle sellers will demand (purchase) special rights at the festival in the future to keep any disruption to them away.

Oh and to the genius calling Mike out for being biased or untruthful… Where are you everytime the COC or the Cartels release a report with obvious faults in them?
If you want to be taken seriously, you need to call those out to. Otherwise its just obvious your piling on trying to discredit someone to squash the truth your bosses don’t like.

Jamie Deitchman (profile) says:

RE: Waffle Wars

This is not the same story we’ve seen time and time again.

Let’s try shifting the nouns and see what happens.

Mitt Romeny decides to go to a Car Dealership in Delaware, sets up a table in their parking lot, where in a bid to gain political favor, he gives away a free car of the same make and model as anyone who was going to buy a car there today, and he gives them cars from his private stock, not bought from the dealership where he is camping out at.

Mitt isn’t trying to compete with the car dealership as a business. His goal is to get votes. Yes the car manufacturer still gets sales, but this particular dealership is screwed for the day, if not week, once word gets out.

Once the customer’s need for a car is sated (much like hunger) they aren’t likely to go and buy a car from the dealership, even though they still have the resources to do so.

Can you understand why, they might insist he get the hell off of their Property?

This is not a story of some upstart Waffle Vendor pissing off all the legacy Waffle Vendors. This is a story of a political gimmick messing with a small business, and that small business doing the only thing it could do, complain to the people in charge.

When the Pirate Party shifts their main goal to serving waffles, I will recant, until then, I am afraid you guys are just towing the company line, instead of seeing the real picture. Sometimes a Merchant is allowed to be pissed off, even if nothing illegal is goign on.

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