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back to article The Pirate Party is the shape of things to come

A clear winner is emerging from the Digital Economy Bill - and it's the UK Pirate Party. The penny only really dropped for me yesterday, after the Open Rights Group's big demonstration at Westminster. "What was all that about, Andrew?" someone asked me in the pub afterwards. He'd been at the Commons for a meeting, and walked …

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Overly optimistic?

"In other words, to get to the "sharing culture" they advocate, no group has to lose out, nobody need get poorer, and certainly, nobody has to have their rights taken away. To argue otherwise is pure, childish spite."

But surely, the "sharing culture" they advocate won't have room for record companies - who are content owners, not creators - to stand between the producer and consumer taking the lions share of the transaction.

Without them being the gatekeepers to the promotion/distribution networks or being the only people who can produce a professional quality recordings, there's no justification for them taking as much money.

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Overly optimistic?

It may surprise you to learn that many, if not most, new acts want to be signed to a major record label. They see the deal as a favourable trade-off for the exposure they give them. They know very well that most don't make it, and how long it takes to recoup. But if you want a shot at the big time, you go with someone who can get you there.

Others are happy with the 50/50 revenue share offered by an indie label.

Your argument fails to make any such distinctions, and is taking choices and opportunities away from people.

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Pirate

Wrong marketplace and wrong motivation

There isn't exactly a shortage of places for people to have a 'shot at the big time' elsewhere from the content biz, including casinos, stock investment scams or lotteries with null return for the majority of punters and the odd stinking rich exception to motivate the losers. Even with defensible copyright terms and scope (much shorter terms, enforcement limited to commercial use only) there will be no shortage of wannabees trying their hand in the content biz. The Freakonomics book equates this kind of motivation to street corner drug dealers willing to risk a high chance of getting jailed or shot for the outside chance of becoming Mr Big. So Mr Orlowski wants us to negotiate away fundamental human rights (expression and privacy) so a few more losers can be tempted to waste away the best years of their lives for such motivations ?

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Wrong marketplace and wrong motivation

This is what happens when you back the wrong argument, and find yourself in an intellectual cul de sac. You begin to depend on mishearing, misquoting, or misunderstanding other people.

Eg #1:

"a 'shot at the big time' elsewhere from the content biz, including casinos, stock investment scams or lotteries with null return for the majority of punters and the odd stinking rich exception to motivate the losers."

But not a shot at the Big Time in the marketplace of artistic creation - rewarding the talent they have nurtured.

Eg #2:

"So Mr Orlowski wants us to negotiate away fundamental human rights (expression and privacy)"

See above (ad nauseum). Nobody loses.

You may differ from the Men Who Don't Yet Shave by age, and by perhaps by nuance, too - but your argument is also founded upon a deep and unpleasant set of intellectual prejudices. You're anti-talent, and resent talented people being rewarded for their talents.

Those are really repellent prejudices, in anyone's book.

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Pirate

Wrong marketplace and wrong motivation

Andrew, you're totally wrong, I've got nothing against musicians. My son is one and he's just released his latest album on Creative Commons terms. But this doesn't stop him working at something else for his living which others are prepared to pay for. I'm an amateur musician myself on occasion. After I left college some of my best friends were a group of musicians who tried but failed to become famous. I've still got their music and enjoy it, and enjoyed the times I went to see them play.

But after about 10 years or so they gave up and got proper jobs. So you think copyright motivation should have made them waste 5 years more or 5 years fewer at this game, before they stopped living off dole money at the public expense and starting working as teachers and engineers paying taxes and supporting their families which is what they did once reality dawned on them ?

I'm also unconvinced it's better for musicians who make themselves rich enough not to have to work again. Having to work again tends to have the effect of making people into more responsible citizens like the guy from a one hit sixties band who manages a pub and serves customers a few miles from me, which has to be better than aging rock stars burning themselves out on booze and drugs.

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@ Andrew

I happen to agree with you. Unfortunately there are a lot of pigs in El Regs comment pages. It is the "I get free medical services and free road and free food and I don't have to pay for any of it".

Developing new things (patents and copyright stuff) is hard. It looks simple when you are finished but it is not. I know - this is my livelihood. A really good patent may take 5 to 10 years to fully develop. Not all of them pay off. It is the aggregate that matters. I - or my employer - makes lots of money off of one patent out of 10 or 20. Each cost several million to develop the technology. So yeah - we charge a lot for things that work out but what happens to the stuff that does not? No, I can not pay for by myself. You have to - in the end - pay for ALL of the development - if you want the really cool stuff. This is the nature of research and development.

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@ Copsewood

Mr Corpse -

You are woking on a piece of equipment (computer) that my intellectual effort (years of it!) went into creating. [I know because I invented some of the basic technology that allows sub 0.25 µm silicon devices.] Your argument is that I, and my then employer, should get nothing for that effort?

The operative thing here is that you stated "I'm an amateur musician myself". Some of us work for a living. We live high pressured lives to create new things that you might enjoy. Your argument is that we should not benefit form this work.

As for your argument that: "I'm also unconvinced it's better for musicians who make themselves rich enough not to have to work again." If you apply this to musicians - what about highly trained engineers - or computer scientists - or whatever? It is a lot of work just complete school. Remember the Soviets tried this - it turned into a "They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work" That society collapsed. I have a better solution. Try paying for other's work. Stop being a lazy get.

(Yeah I am pissed at your stupid argument.)

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Wrong marketplace and wrong motivation

"But after about 10 years or so they gave up and got proper jobs."

Your prejudices are poking through again.

But of course, you know what best for creators...

(By the way, since you're someone who lives off the "public expense", you might want to remember the line about glasshouses and stones!)

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(Written by Reg staff) Bronze badge

Re: Wrong marketplace and wrong motivation

" My son is one and he's just released his latest album on Creative Commons terms. But this doesn't stop him working at something else for his living..."

I've heard of parents selling their children into slavery. I've heard of parents maiming their children to make them more effective beggars.

Conceptually, this isn't too different ;-)

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@ I am pissed at your stupid argument

The initial post was CLEARLY addressing the issue of copyrights, yet here you are posting angry responses about the issue of patents.

Granted, many people confuse the two because they are misleadingly grouped under the label "intellectual property," however that doesn't mean the same rules should apply for both, nor should the same business models be used for both.

My problem with patents is that patent law has gone far beyond what is reasonable and what it was designed to do (protect inventors). We may be at the point where patent arms races, patent trolls, and overly broad patents are starting to be more of a burden to the consumer than the advantages you say they give us. It may be overkill to abolish patents, but no reasonable person would argue they don't need to be reformed.

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Read again

"Your argument fails to make any such distinctions, and is taking choices and opportunities away from people."

I'm not talking about the current situation, I'm talking about this "sharing culture" you say the Pirate Party (which sounds far more fun than it is) want. If everyone just shares everything and somehow money magically falls out for the creators, then there would be no point in record companies as they exist now so they would be bound to lose out to some extent.

I'm not taking anything from anybody other than the words that you're putting in my mouth.

"You begin to depend on mishearing, misquoting, or misunderstanding other people."

The ironing is delicious.

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@George

George, your posting is so full of wrong assumptions and errors its difficult to know where to start. I also worked for many years on the technology that made the Net possible and stopped earning money from my engineering work when I went into teaching, which was right and proper. Copyrights and patents are different things, and I have no problem with copyright applying to commercial use, and enabling further commercial areas of use (sale of bandwidth supported by content) by legitimising non-commercial use. So I suggest you reread my arguments and try to think carefully about what I am saying rather than what you seem to be imagining I'm saying.

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Stop

Wrong again

Andrew, my son, based upon a few other objective metrics, is clearly a great deal smarter than either of us, very much his own man and he makes his own choices about how he licenses his music. You can hear his latest album on http://warfreak2.org.uk/ if you want.

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Joke

Warfreak?

I can't believe a major record label hasn't signed him already.

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Are "people" that stupid?

"But a vote (especially an electronic vote) for the Pirates is a snub to a system that people think has failed them."

It might be entertaining if a single-issue party did govern the country for a while. People might start to realize what "failing them" really means. We might see actual lynchings in London, which would make great TV.

I suspect most people are not this stupid, and the Pirate Party will get the sort of voter turnout last seen by the Monster Raving Loony Party.

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Well ...

... it has been my experience that whenever you have to stop and ask yourself "Are people that stupid ?", the answer is invariably 'yes, yes they are, shit'.

"I suspect most people are not this stupid, and the Pirate Party will get the sort of voter turnout last seen by the Monster Raving Loony Party."

I suspect that their very stupidity will place their votes elsewhere, albeit with the same result.

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@ The Other Steve

I have to point out that ANYONE who upvotes their own comments is THAT stupid, if not more.

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Eh ?

See title

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Anonymous Coward

Presenting the argument

I'm not saying the Pirate Bay Party are right, but you don't seem to have presented their arguments and counter-arguments very well. For example, giving copyright a limited life time doesn't mean I'll be able to present "Thriller" as my own work! Nor does it mean the end to income for artists. You need to think these things through a bit more.

I think the bottom line is that people know they're being ripped off and manipulated by the large companies and are just sick of it. In these circumstances it's hard not to over-react.

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Re: Presenting the argument

Oh dear.

"it doesn't mean I'll be able to present "Thriller" as my own work!"

Read it again slowly, because it doesn't say what you think it means. You'll be able to issue Michael Jackson's Thriller under your own "Anonytard" record label (or whatever you want to call it), and you will not need to pay the composer or creator of the sound recording.

You really do need a crash course in copyright, so you don't confuse authorship and ownership.

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Ok..

But would people buy from you when they can get it for free? Doesn't sound like you've given this that much thought.

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Paris Hilton

...and this is bad how?

Really, I wanna know. People would be better off. Lower price on "thriller", better distribution, and less Michael Jackson who retires earlier before getting on the freakout path. Probably a few additional jobs created, too. Other artists can get their shot at the top spot instead of having to contend with the renosed ubermusician sucking all the air out of the marketplace.

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5 years?

I can sort of see what would happen with a 5 year copyright (or 10 year). Music companies would pull out of the UK and prohibit imports. Tech companies would also pull out, no more Windows nor Windows software (including games), so the UK would be the first country in the world to be forced to switch to Linux, except that our internet would be stuck as it is now, or even suspended totally, tech companies not willing to lose copyright protection over their hardware/software would suspend their licence agreements with the phone companies. ISP's would lose their licences with Cisco etc. for the backhaul.

It would totally cripple the UK, never mind being disconnected after downloading 100,000 songs, there would be no internet available in the UK to download even 1 song.

Think about how much of our tech requires proprietary software/hardware, patents, licences, copyright laws, without them we would be screwed, even I can see that!

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lol

I'm SURE that's what would happen! :P

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10 is better

"Music companies would pull out of the UK and prohibit imports"

Since when have music companies dictated UK laws??? Oh, wait...

"Tech companies would also pull out, no more Windows nor Windows software "

As long as they haven't got Windows source code, Windows is as safe as ever. (not much ^_^ )

"except that our internet would be stuck as it is now, or even suspended totally, tech companies not willing to lose copyright protection over their hardware/software"

Ditto, without the source code and the hardware designs themselves, the only thing they can do is reverse engineering everything, which is costly and/or perhaps impossible. All to recreate a five or ten years old technology. If any, a ten years period would probably accelerate innovation.

Fearmongering much?

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Uhm, no?

First of all, a foreign country can't prohibit imports, only the country in question can do that. The only thing a foreign country can do is put limitations on exports, but once something has left the country there's not very much control the country can exert on its final destination. As for Windows, you could use Windows 95/98/XP for free (although not SP1, SP2 or SP3, and not plain XP till next year as it was released in 2001), but you couldn't use Vista (who would want to?), or Windows 7 without actually buying them. Now pause to consider that Microsoft doesn't even want to sell copies of XP anymore, nevermind the previous releases and I think you'll see that a 10 year copyright wouldn't change much of anything really in the software industry. Well, it would allow programs to interoperate a bit easier, at least if software patent was eliminated or similarly limited.

Now, the music and movie/tv industry on the other hand would be a different situation. Well... not so much actually. How many 10+ year old movies are making major money? Oh sure, there's a number of classics out there that get milked fairly regularly *cough*disney*cough*, but on the whole most of the movie industry profit comes from new releases. The music industry makes a fair bit of profit off older music, but really shouldn't that be incentive for them to invest more in finding new good music rather than simply milking the old good music? How much of the music put out in the last 10 years actually sells? How much of the music in the last 20? I don't know, I'm a programmer not a musician. What I do know is there have been about 4 cds I've purchased in the last 10 years, and no I don't download music illegally (I do download some music from time to time, but it's being distributed legally as its primarily independent work freely given by the author).

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cut and pasted to my blog

and i've stuck my name on the banner.. None of that orlanski rubbish.

Nobody is saying stop file sharing. But share things you've created, not things you've copied. Why is that so difficult to accept?

Yes, its stupid that music companies didn't jump to things like napster, but remember, napster was another corporation, is it so difficult to imagine that perhaps the music companies either felt the deal offered wasn't acceptable OR were in the difficult position ( like some companies still are) that a lot of artists might actually not want to be on digital without changes in legal terms?

Still that 75yr copyright thing is a bit wierd and I think they should find better examples that sir cliff losing a few bob.

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Big Brother

Excellently put

Having said that : "But in reality, it's surprisingly authoritarian: the Pirates' solution to every grievance is a new law or regulation"

Maybe not so surprising, single issue parties tend towards authoritarianism (look at the greens for example) because they also tend towards zealotry and fundamentalism (greens again!).

This seems to be because they have received the One True Vision of How Things Must Be, naturally there will be a lot of stupid or evil people who disagree with the OTVoHTMB, and these must be dealt with summarily.

The OTVoHTMB does not embrace nor even encourage democracy, for why should it ? It is a priori correct and no competing view point is required.

The freetard fundies are unpleasantly like the Taliban in that respect.

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Indeed-

All Fundamentalists are Fundamentally Flawed. 'Tis the nature of the beast.

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omg

Is this guy seriously comparing the Greens and the Pirate Party to the Taliban?? :)))

I've seen some seriously screwed up people on the internet, but this one takes the cake!

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Yes I am

And there is nothing screwed up about it all. One belief, one vision, one truth, all imposed on others, against their will if necessary.

Where's the difference ? Of course, you're going to say "well the Taliban kill people", and I will say "that is why I said 'like' the Taliban (and showed my workings out) and not 'identical to' the Taliban'"

Carry on.

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Big Brother

agreed

The Taliban are far less of a threat to my way of life than those lunatic greens.

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And yet...

... he makes a valid point.

The Taliban are fundamentalists. Fanatics. Obsessives. They genuinely believe they have discovered the One True Way. "Religion" is just a particular application of belief and faith.

Humans are *very* good at this—wars, riots and pub fights are invariably sparked-off by someone fundamentally disagreeing with someone else and not wishing to agree to disagree.

People don't really believe in gods, however. They believe in *words*. This, after all, is the only "evidence" most religions have for their god(s). Most importantly, it's these sacred words which dictate and define how subjects of the religion are supposed to *behave*. These sacred words define their *culture*—their One True Way. Conflicts are therefore inevitable when two incompatible cultures built along these lines clash.

Those sacred words are invariably certified and defined as "trustworthy" by self-selected priests / technicians / a pope / programmers / mediatards, all of whom are utterly obsessed with ensuring others believe in their preferred way of life, and have a vested interest in doing so. And deity help you if you disagree with them!

The Internet is a breeding ground for this shit. It's like a petri dish filled with a "religion growth medium" consisting mainly of fanatics, fundamentalists and many, many ignorant sheep.

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Manifesto

There's a key sentence in the Pirate Party manifesto:

"[We are a] party that admits it doesn't always have all the answers, and is willing to listen."

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@M2Ys4U:

"[We are a] party that admits it doesn't always have all the answers, and is willing to listen."

If that's supposed to make me feel more well-disposed towards them, it's not working:

The clear implication from that statement is that they sincerely believe they *sometimes* do have "all the answers".

I suppose it's possible the Pirate Party are incompetent at using English. But that just makes me wonder what else they're incompetent at.

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Give them a break...

...most of them have only just taken their English GCSE mocks.

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My point was...

that we do not think that our policy is The One True Way Forward™. It is the way forward that we want, certainly, but not an absolute stance. More than anything, a real debate about these issues and healthy rules that benefit society as a whole are what we want.

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and is willing to listen.

And yet I see absolutely no evidence of that. Strange.

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Here's a hint...

... stop comparing us to the Taliban and calling us freetards and we might take your comments more seriously.

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how ironic.......

"One belief, one vision, one truth, all imposed on others, against their will if necessary."

Sounds like a mantra for new labour. Anybody who compares the pirate party to the taliban clearly needs to lay off the crack pipe........

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@M2Ys4U

I have created a "thing" it cost millions, nay, BILLIONS to R&D, test, ensure was safe, ramp up the fab plants, ramp up distribution etc. And you want to limit copyright to 5 years? Let's say it was a drug. Just HOW MUCH do you think I will have to charge for it to recoup all those costs (plus interest) in 5 years before every Tom Dick and Harry copies it?

I agree 100% that some companies (e.g. MS) and organisations (RIAA,BPI etc) have put barriers on free trade and seek to keep out-moded business models running, but your proposals have massive unintended consequences. In fact, despite honourable aims, they are infantile and utterly without merit.

File share all you want, no one is stopping you. But how about only file sharing what is LEGAL to file share. What's that, no good movies to file share? How about you make your own blockbuster and release it for free? Once you see all the effort, sweat and money that goes into making and releasing something you will understand WHY content creators are right to be worried about a reduction in their rights.

You seek to protect your right by crushing other people's. That is totally hypocritical of you.

By all means seek to limit the machinations and trade blocking exerted by the likes of the BPI etc, but leave the content creators alone.

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Alien

@ anon

Since when is anybody's initial bargaining position what they actually get? They ask for 10-year copyrights, but given they now last >100 years, they'll probably settle for something between 25-60 years. If anything, this tells me the Pirates mean business.

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Engage brain

Your confusing patents with copyright and making the same mistake Andrew is. I have no issue with 20-25 year patents (the current term). Inventing new technology and preforming R&D on drugs is an expensive process.

Reducing copyright to five years would affect software, music and films. The effect on software would be non existent. As a commenter above mentioned if copyright were reduced to 5 years only the original Windows XP would be free, XP SP1, XP SP2 and XP SP3, Vista and 7 would all be covered. I work for a software company if we produced a bit of software and make no newer releases for 5 years our competitors would steal our customers.

Reduction in copyright would only really affect the music and film industry and considering it's hard to find many films that are older than 10 years I don't think it would hurt them to much either.

People like Andrew like to associate the Pirate Party with file sharing so people like yourself switch off and don't ask why a drug company gets 25 years of protected for inventing a new drug after spending billions of pounds and yet Micky Mouse is at 75 years and counting.

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Grenade

Yes indeed and it works both ways

Capital 'C' Capitalists are fundamentalists. Fanatics. Obsessives. They genuinely believe they have discovered the One True Way.

Most, if not all, of the American Wars of the last 50 years have been started on this exact basis.

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Authoritarian?

According to evidence the UK Green Party is one of the most Libertarian parties available. Even beating out the LibDems.

If you want to see Authoritarianism look no further than the BNP, UKIP, Labour and the Conservative Party who are seemingly in a race to the top.

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Re: Engage brain

I don't have to associate the PP with file sharing, they've done that themselves. Copyright was their only policy until they discovered privacy had legs.

(Hint: the clue's in the name)

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RE : Authoritarian?

Big Fail Buzzer

"According to evidence the UK Green Party is one of the most Libertarian parties available. Even beating out the LibDems."

I am a libertarian, you will now show me the evidence while I laugh at you. Might I suggest that the best measure of whether the greens are libertarian might be what the libertarians themselves think of the greens, which is that they are a bunch of puritan totalitarian fucktards.

Please do your homework. You can start by going and having a look at the LPUK website and looking at the definition of "libertarian", oh hell, I'll save you the typing, here :

"Libertarians believe in individual liberty, personal responsibility, and freedom from government—on all issues at all times"

The greens, in common with most other political parties, are the very anathema of this philosophy.

So, y'know, fail, really badly.

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Take your ball home

"... stop comparing us to the Taliban and calling us freetards and we might take your comments more seriously."

Stop acting like retards who want free stuff and I'll stop stop calling you freetards. Stop spouting your ideological bullshit propaganda and replace it with solid facts and figures that make your case and I'll stop comparing you to the Taliban.

Fair enough ?

Shit, if you manage to make a single coherent argument in support of your arguments that doesn't include something is either verifiably incorrect or in no way supported by any actual evidence and doesn't rely upon hysterical ideological wailing about fairness I might even stop using the Fail icon. On this occasion though ...

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