The Pirate Party, Copyright and Virtual Freedom

The Pirate Party blog links an op-ed from the Financial Times by Christian Engstrom, the deputy chairman of the Swedish Pirate Party, who was elected to the European Parliament earlier this year. Engstrom argues that "copyright laws threaten out online freedom" and provides an overview of the aims and ends of the Pirate Party:
Copyright was meant to encourage culture, not restrict it. This is reason enough for reform. But the current regime has even more damaging effects. In order to uphold copyright laws, governments are beginning to restrict our right to communicate with each other in private . . . technology could be used to create a Big Brother society beyond our nightmares, where governments and corporations monitor every detail of our lives. In the former East Germany, the government needed tens of thousands of employees to keep track of the citizens using typewriters, pencils and index cards. Today a computer can do the same thing a million times faster, at the push of a button. There are many politicians who want to push that button.

The same technology could instead be used to create a society that embraces spontaneity, collaboration and diversity. Where the citizens are no longer passive consumers being fed information and culture through one-way media, but are instead active participants collaborating on a journey into the future . . .

The public increasingly recognises the need for reform. That was why Piratpartiet – the Pirate party – won 7.1 per cent of the popular vote in Sweden in the European Union elections. This gave us a seat in the European parliament for the first time.

Our manifesto is to reform copyright laws and gradually abolish the patent system. We oppose mass surveillance and censorship on the net, as in the rest of society. We want to make the EU more democratic and transparent. This is our entire platform. We intend to devote all our time and energy to protecting the fundamental civil liberties on the net and elsewhere.


Ryan Martin said...

I really liked this blog, but I would.. I'm the Administrator of the US Pirate Party :) Your blog is pretty interesting, I'll start following it. If you ever want to speak with me directly, don't hesitate to contact me.

d.eris said...

Thanks, Ryan. I've been following the Pirate Party blog for a month or so. Maybe you've checked them out already, but here are some more Pirate Party-related posts.