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The Pirate Party

The Pirate Party [1] wants to fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens’ rights to privacy are respected. Founded by Rick Falkvinge on the January 1, 2006 in Sweden the movement is going from strength to strength.

Three tenets of the agenda [2] are:

  • Reform of copyright law to promote the sharing and spread of knowledge and ideas. Aiming to make the Internet the greatest public library ever created. All non-commercial copying and use should be completely free. In today’s fast paced, technology lead environment, commercial copyright should be limited to five years after publication (not seventy years after the person is dead). A complete ban on Digital Rights Media (DRM) as a way for the media companies to both write and enforce their own arbitrary laws.
  • Eliminate the patent system. Pharmaceutical and Software patents are singled out. In the case of Pharmaceuticals, a report published by The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFIA) [3] is cited. According to the 2006 report, compulsory health insurance across the European Union contributes €97.7B to Pharmaceutical Research and Development (R&D). Is 20% of this were allocated directly to R&D more money would be spent on research, while tax payers would have a drastically lowered cost. Software patents inhibit technical progress in the IT field, and pose a serious threat to both small and medium-sized companies and private programmers. Although current patent law explicitly says that computer programs should not be patentable, such grants are commonly granted.
  • Respect for the right to privacy. Following 9/11 terrorist attacks, Europe has allowed itself to be swept along with increasing the level of surveillance and control over all its citizens. Modern European history, in particular, Communist Regimes and Fascism, demonstrate how the state can convincingly tell us how these steps are necessary but that this road often also leads to abuse of such powers and state sponsored oppression.

With this agenda, Pirate Parties have been started in some 33 countries, inspired by the Swedish initiative. They cooperate through Pirate Parties International (PPI) [4].

The Pirate Party of Germany gained seats in the city council of Münster and Aachen in August 2009, and in the federal election a month later they received 2.0% of the party list votes, becoming the biggest party outside the Bundestag. In the election to the Abgeordnetenhaus in Berlin in September 2011, the Pirate Party received 9 % of the votes and – for the first time in Germany – gained seats in a state parliament.

[1] http://thepirateparty.com/

[2] http://thepirateparty.com/index.php/policy-overview

[3] http://www.efpia.org/Objects/2/Files/infigures2006.pdf

[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate_Parties_International