The Pirate Party

Posted on Thu 13 August 2009 by alex in misc

Well it seems the Pirate Party in now registered with the electoral commission in the UK which opens the way for their participation in elections. I'm not sure how I feel about this. Their front page policies are all good stuff, reform copyright and patent law, reduce surveillance and uphold free speech. I hope that having a political party expounding these things will bring the issues more into the mind of the electorate. However I don't think their doing themselves much favours with the name as it immediately prejudices people opinion of the party. The idea that their principle concern is representing people illicitly downloading free music in their bedrooms will surely become quickly lodged in the national consciousness, and that is a fairly week position to argue for the sort of reforms they are looking towards. I shall withhold further judgement until I see if they get any air time and how they come across.

Spodula mentioned the Pirate Bay verdict a while ago and I have to say I have little sympathy for the admins as well. I have plenty of concerns about the trial and the legal interpretation of "contribution to copyright infringement" but the behaviour and demeanour of defendants did invite the generally liberal Swedish Judges to cross that line. It's one that now leaves me wondering if as a programmer who has contributed to GTK Gnutella I can now be held liable for what someone does with the software regardless of the number of perfectly legal uses it can be put to.

Finally I'll point out there are political lobbying groups that do not have party affiliations that are worth supporting. These include the Open Rights Group, the European arm of the Free Software Foundation and the of course the pioneering Internet civil liberties organisation the Electronic Frontier Foundation. I wish the major political parties would take more notice of what these guys have to say as well.