German Pirate Party Makes Some Shockingly Unshocking Proposals For Copyright Reform

from the is-that-it? dept

As Techdirt has reported, after a year of amazing successes, the German Pirate Party is going through something of a bad patch at the moment. One reason is that it seems to spend more time squabbling in public than on crafting policy documents that will win over the public. That makes the recent appearance of proposals for copyright reform particularly significant.

To be fair, one reason for the delay in producing them is that the Pirate Party has been involved in a major series of consultations with artists and publishers (original in German). These are also described at some length in a new brochure (pdf in German), whose last third consists of examples of new business models that seek to exploit rather than fight the shift to digital — none of which will come as any surprise to readers of Techdirt. More interesting is the section detailing of the Pirate Party’s core ideas for copyright reform, which aim to strike “a fair balance between creators and users” according to the text, and include the following proposals:

No online surveillance, blocking technologies or data retention

The reduction of the term of copyright

Legalization of DRM circumvention tools

More rights for creators when negotiating with publishers

Legalization of free, non-commercial copying of all creative works online

Digital archives for libraries

Exemption of educational establishments from copyright licensing fees

Open access to all publicly-funded academic work and broadcasting

Legalization of open wifi networks

It’s a pretty restrained list, although it will doubtless be met with howls of disapproval from the usual suspects. Whether it’s enough to win the German Pirate Party more favor with voters, especially the younger ones that are its heartland, remains to be seen. Moreover, now comes the even trickier task of drawing up a coherent political program for topics outside the world of copyright, where there is far less consensus about what — if anything — the Pirates are fighting for.

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Comments on “German Pirate Party Makes Some Shockingly Unshocking Proposals For Copyright Reform”

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Dionaea (profile) says:

Not surprising

I’m not really surprised by this. I read the brochure/party program for the Dutch PP and that one was also pretty moderate. I also don’t think there are many people who really think IP should be completely abolished, I think this point is what most people are after:

“Legalization of free, non-commercial copying of all creative works online”

It’s not so much that everyone should be allowed to sell Harry Potter books or whatever which they printed themselves and earn money without anything going to the rightsholder, but that you shouldn’t be at risk of being disconnected from your internet, getting huge fines or even ending up in prison just for sharing what you like for free. I know it’s not as bad in Europe as it is in other places, but there is definitely room for improvement. And I think a surprisingly large amount of younger voters do understand this, I mean even my little brother gets this. He actually DIDN’T want to vote PP at first because he thought they wanted to abolish IP. We both voted PP btw, unfortunately the elections were completely overshadowed by other subjects and the PP didn’t get a seat. Plus here in the Netherlands downloaders aren’t persecuted (yet).

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re: Not surprising

I also don’t think there are many people who really think IP should be completely abolished…

My position is almost exactly what the German PP has listed.

But I was thinking about this the other day, to achieve such a goal of course will involve all sorts of compromise. So maybe I should revise my stance to advocate complete removal of copyright as a starting point to end up where I really want to be.

Josef Anvil (profile) says:

Tricky language

“Legalization of free, non-commercial copying of all creative works online”

This one looks simple enough, but is terribly complex. I don’t see my dog dancing to the latest Flo’ Rida single on youtube as a commercial endeavor. But if it has a Pedigree advert and gets 3 million hits then suddenly I’m a criminal.

The problem with this is that there are so many opportunities to monetize content online that the content creators cannot possibly capitalize on most of them and there are many people that will accidentally make cash off other’s content without being a commercial enterprise.

To me simplistic, the definition of commercial in this context needs to specify a profit threshold.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Tricky language

Wouldn’t specifying a profit threshold simply encourage people to find monitization methods that approach as close as possible to that threshold without overcoming it as a justification to make money off said work, spread over a larger number of endeavors to increase net gain while ensuring each individual endeavor is still legal?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Tricky language

I would think so. Even to the point where sites build business-models around it. I am more in the register to profit camp.

Unless you can buy/acquire/watch/hear etc. something on a given collection of sites online, the work can be assumed to be free to use under normal attribution and the new work will be a shared copyright with the original creator.

In that way, it would be possible to continue with the current business model, while also giving the necessary flexibility to mash and collaborate.
It even has the added possibility of one of the mashed works getting into the sale-model if the creators can agree!

lolzzzzz says:


#5 Legalization of free, non-commercial copying of all creative works online

does this regard stuff found online or mean that i can only keep such ONLINE?
OH and they should be advocating nothing short of its entire removal and sucking up to artists leads to what happened in canada and it goes no where…..
useless cause the people running it are NOT file sharers.
i had to label canada’s version anti-p2p cause they ddint want to accept non commerical file sharing.
WELL hollywood is just gonna argue its all commerical so there screw it just kill all of it i say….

Andrew Norton (profile) says:

Re: I'll take it

You can, I sure wish it were possible.
The US is perhaps the most undemocratic country in the west. It’s so hard to get on a ballot, it’s a lot easier to get on in pretty much any other western country.

I say this with experiance, as both the first long-term leader of the USPP, and then the first head of the PPI. It’s easier to set up and get registered as a political party in Russia, than in the US. Should tell you something!

Ninja (profile) says:

It’s a sane approach. I never expected any surprises here. What would surprise me is if they went nuclear and called for total abolishment of IP laws.

They are going through an existential crisis. I think deep inside they never really believed they’d go as far as they did so now it’s time to clean up the mess and make clear plans to move forward.

They are young, they have yet to make many mistakes before the end. But I’m sure they’ll do wonderfully.

Justin (profile) says:

I like the idea of breaking out the key topics and not placing everybody into a small selection of buckets. So on IT and IP they follow the Pirate Party, Healthcare they are more CDU, economics they agree more with CSU. This removes the party lines and doesn’t make it this side vs that side. It lets the members express themselves and truly represent the people rather then having to follow a stance because they are a member of a certain party.

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