Falkvinge, Rickard. "Copyright Regime vs. Civil Liberties." Google Tech Talks, Google Headquarters Mountain View, CA. 31 July 2007.
Falkvinge begins this tech talk by noting that the strength of the Pirate Party comes from the youth today. He predicted that with the 35,000 votes coming of voting age by 2009 might just place someone in Parliament in the EU elections. Falkvinge's presentation is broken down into three parts and ends with questions from the audience. The first part is an introduction to who he is and what the Pirate Party's agenda is all about. He outlines what is already noted in the Declaration of Principles, but adds to this comments that filesharing vs. copyright is like trench warfare and that it is not about the money anymore but about civil liberties. The second part is a history of copyright beginning with the Catholic Church (this is much like the outline of the Steal this Film documentary series). He emphasizes that copyright has always been for the benfit of the distributors and not the creators. The final party of the presentation is on his vision of the future. Again, he reiterates the Party's core beliefs about copyright for commerical use early, reducing the term to five years, enouraging non-commercial collection, use, derivation and uploading. He expresses the opinion that file sharing and open access to all culture and knowledge through technology will be as significant as libraries. Falkvinge then turns to the political strategy of the party. He notes that politicians are too preoccupied with other issues to pay attention to copyright reform, but should the party gain enough influence, that they might begin to pay attention. The Pirate Party is satisfied not taking on any other political stances outside of IP reform and as just existing as a tie breaker. Finally, Falkvinge brings up the fact that Swedish copyright law cannot be changed by the EU, but at the same time, the EU will need to protect Sweden from any trade sanctions from the US.
Falkvinge's presentation is useful because it is a more organic representation of the beliefs of the Party. The party at this point feels less "rebellious" than its image in the public media. Falkvinge is extremely thoughtful in his opinions and is clearly an expert on how to promote the party from the bottom up, raising awareness all over Europe.
Miegel, Fredrik, and Tobias Olsson. "From Pirates to Politicians: The Story of the Swedish File Sharers who Became a Political Party." Democracy, Journalism and Technology: New Developments in an Enlarged Europe. (2008): 203-215
The goal of this paper is to attempt a basic analysis of the development of the Pirate Party in Sweden and its political significance. Miegel and Olsson begin with a close description of the three most significant websites associated with the Swedish file-sharing movement. The paper ends with the application of democratic theory on the movement. The first description is of the website: Thepiratebay.org. Miegel and Olsson concentrate mostly on the site's navigation at the bottom of the page and then on the "forums" link where they outline a correspondence between username "Apple" and "TPB." In it Apple threatens legal action against The Pirate Bay to which TPB responds with (typical) candor, "...that [Apple] sodomise [themself] with a retractable baton...." The next site description is of piratbyran.org, the web-based lobbying organization. Most of Sweden's political discussions occur through this site making it of more civic importance than The Pirate Bay. The final site analysis is of piratpartiet.se, the Swedish Pirate Party's homepage. The site began as a protest against copyright laws, but eventually grew to be the petition site where party leader Rickard Falkvinge collected enough signatures to register the political party.
The next section of the paper focuses on a more theoretical explanation of the significance of the file-sharing movement. Miegel and Olsson write that the Pirate Party breathes new life into the core values of democracy. They cite John B. Thompson's ideas on the societal institutions in control of knowledge in light of the interent and new media communications today. Quoting Christian Engstrom (the Swedish Pirate Party's vice-chairman) extensively, they buttress their argument that the Pirate Party is less about file-sharing and surveillance and more about questioning fundamental democratic values.
It is this last section of Miegel and Olsson's paper that will be useful for my paper in analyzing the party's future impact, and though their descriptions of the websites seem mostly surface and aesthetic, they will help me navigate the sites.
TankGirl. "Pirate leader Falkvinge: 'Our enemy has no intellectual capital to bring to the battle'.” P2P Consortium Interview. 12 January 2008. 20 July 2009.
P2P Consortium member going by the avatar of TankGirl, interviews Rickard Falkvinge, chairman of the Swedish Pirate Party. At the point of this interview, the Pirate Party has yet to gain a seat in the EU Parliament, but many of his responses predict the Party's later success. The questions are consistent with the Pirate Party's primary issues including the filesharing debate, privacy issues, and the spread of IPR revolution across Europe. In the first question, TankGirl mentions the adoption of the PP's principles by the Moderate Party and whether Falkvinge thinks that this is productive. He agrees that it is productive in applying pressure to larger parties, but he explains that the MP is "technophobically luddite" and does not understand the issues as well as he would like them to. The second question is about whether Falkvinge's vision of the IPR revolution, why is has its beginnings in Sweden, and will it eventually infect other countries in Europe and the world? Falkvinge explains that file-sharing issues seem to be strongest in Sweden today, which might be because they were slightly ahead in high-speed broadband access. He no longer gets asked questions about monetary compensation of artists in Sweden, meaning that they already understand that the debate goes beyond that. He is hoping that Sweden will set an example in Europe. He is less optimistic about the Pirate Party in the US noting that the party has much less influence on the political system. In response to the third question about privacy and integrity, Falkvinge explains again that file-sharing cannot be stopped, eventually it will be completely anonymous and that cell phone file-sharing would soon be ubiquitous. The last question addresses personal integrity and surveillance being instituted for "anti-terrorism reasons." Falkvinge gives a brief lexical definition of fascism and says to remember that we have brought the cameras into our homes ourselves. The best thing to do against the Big Brother Society is to be constantly vigilant of the government. Turn the eye onto them.
In this interview with P2P Consortium, Falkvinge answers more specific questions about the filesharing debate, most significantly the idea of an impending Big Brother Society that could potentially sweep across Europe. Falkvinge's thoughtful responses have a hint of the revolutionary, something that doesn't come out in his speeches and the Swedish Pirate Party blog.
Falkvinge, Rickard. "www.piratpartiet.se". The Pirate Party. 11 July, 2009 .
The Declaration of Principles was first conceived on February 2006, three months before the Pirate Bay raid. It outlines the three core beliefs of the party: The need for the protection of citizen rights, the will to free culture and the abolishment of the patent system. The introduction notes that Trademarks are not an issue and that the party has no recommendations there. The first section of the declaration focuses on the Swedish constitution and the citizens' right to privacy. The Party is firmly against any kind of surveillance and takes a stand against any anti-terrorist legislation beyond what is already instituted by the Swedish government. Postal Secrets (the idea that any kind of "post" is private) should legally extend into all communication including email and SMS regardless of technology. Access of personal information is only okay under the strong suspicion of a crime and specific work-related duties. It is also mentioned in this section, that though the party is not entirely against the EU, it will not accept the constitution as is (it has already been rejected by France and the Netherlands). Any Swedish representatives should also fight to bring the Union closer to the Swedish principle of Public Access to Records (offentlighetprincipen) where anyone can access any government document anonymously. An example would be of a minor being able to view a censored video by the Cinema Administration Board without showing identification. The next section is devoted to freeing culture. The party promotes the sharing and open availability of all works, especially for non-profit use. Non-commercial distribution should not be limited or punished. Another key belief is noted in this section, that commercial copyright be shortened to five years after publication. The Party also believes that DRM should be banned. The final section is devoted to patents as monopolies that harm society. The party supports open access formats and encourages open source.
Finally the closing words explains the strategic goal of the party. The Party does not strive to be a part of the administration, instead they would rather be a tie breaker in Parliament. Anyone who is willing to take on the Pirate Party's beliefs (I have interprested this as a whole rather than partially), will get their vote.
The Declaration of Principles is key to my paper because it explains what exactly Pirate Party would like to achieve leading me in my analysis of the party. Though the entire declaration is usefuly, I am least likely to explore the idea of patents as monopolies.
Kerbein, Glenn. "Pirate Party of the United States Official Website". Pirate Party of the United States. 22 July 2009 .
The Pirate Party of the United States's website is the most comprehensive point of reference for the US Pirate Party. The party's platform, activities and members are all found here. The site itself has a simple banner across the top with white stripes on a blue background and the US Pirate Party's emblem (a spin-off of the Swedish Party's with a star added to the sail and two ride stripes encircling it). The tabs at top navigate to more information including contacts and how to donate. The home page acts as a kind of blog to which members can post the most recent news regarding the party's activities. To the right is a list of links to Pirate Parties around the world. The US Pirate Party's platform focuses on nine different issues: The abolishment of the DMCA as a first amendment issue, the Rejection of the Concept of Online Piracy, the Right to Free Press, Patent Reform, the Right to Assemble, Copyright Reform, Government Transparency, Right to Privacy, Abolition of Digital Rights Management and Reform of Trademark. The platform definitely parallels the Swedish Party's, but there is a a very clear sense that the Party is not as strongly grounded and cohesive. The "pirate" analogy is woven into the plaform making it sound amateurish, sounding similar to an ordinary personal blog.
Many of the issues addressed could be combined as First Amendment issues, but they are each dileanated as separate problems. Compared to the Swedish Pirate Party, the US's party seems to expand to other issues (inclusion of right to assemble and the rather abstract notion that "piracy" as a term be transformed into something less negative (this might be a reaction to Lessig's point that the party will only promote piracy as a unlawful with their party name, though this seems to be a non-issue in Europe). The official site of the Pirate Party of the United States is useful in measuring the progress of the party in the United States.
The League of Noble Peers, dir. Steal This Film Part I. 2006. .avi format, 2009.
Steal this Film is a project conceived and executed by The League of Noble Peers, a mostly anonymous group of friends who "decided to make a film about file-sharing that *we* could recognise." Right now there are only two parts to the series (each part was said to take about two months to create, but Part III has yet to come out in the past year), each part is about forty minutes in length. Part I begins with the founders of The Pirate Bay, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, and Karl Lundstrom, all of whom would be later found guilty at the Pirate Bay Trial in June of 2009. They comment on the raid and the subsequent events involving the US pressuring WTO sanctions against Sweden if the Swedish government did not take action in shutting down the site. The founders are embittered that Sweden could be manhandled by lobbyists from Hollywood (a commercial is shown in which Arnold Schwarzenneger and Jackie Chan villify piracy calling them "the bad guys"). After the raid, the MPAA sent out a press release saying that they had succeeded. Large words in white and all caps flash across the screen throughout the entire movie stating facts about file-sharing. The day after the much publicized raid, Pirate Bay membership doubled. Gottfrid Svartholm (who started the site on a server in Mexico), says that the MPAA, US and Swedish government had essentially, "shot themselves in the foot." Thus begins the second half of Part I which is mostly comprised of interviews of young Swedish people who all admit to and support file-sharing on the internet. Here is where the essential theme and agenda of The League of Noble Peers emerges: File-sharing cannot be stopped and society needs to be changed to conform to this. As Richard Dreyfus says in a brief cameo, "It is not about the law anymore. People will do what they want to do."
Part I of Steal this Film is mostly about the surge of support for copyright reform and the Pirate Party making it significant for my paper. Not only is the awareness of copyright bullying growing, it is transmogrifying into a debate about autonomy and democracy. More about democracy is presented in Part II.
The League of Noble Peers, dir. Steal This Film Part II. 2007. .avi format, 2009.
Part II of the Steal this Film series focuses more on the history of copyright and the idea of sharing as cultural imperative. In a likely spoof of the FBI warning often seen before watching copyrighted films, the creators write, "Anyone who fails to redistribute this work, or impedes others from doing so, will be ostracized." From the beginning, Part II looks more professionally made and polished than Part I. Interviews with prominent thinkers in the realm of privacy, file-sharing, copyright and open-source internet include Fred von Lohmann, Rick Prelinger, Yochai Beckler, Brewster Kahle, and Howard Rheingold. The film is edited to promote the idea that open file-sharing is imminent and that culture will have to conform to this new fact. Dan Glickman, current chairman of the MPAA, is made to look foolish with editing cuts making him repeat the word "never, never, never, never..." regarding a question about being able to stop piracy. The second half of the film goes into the history of "sharing," presenting the printing press and the proliferation of copied books as itself a form of primitive piracy. Going forward with the analogy of file sharing today with the spread of copied ideas in print, the Internet is presented as the equivalent of the print press, only at peak performance. Towards the very end of the film, a small animated parable about rabbits illustrates the idea of placing a price on property. A man owns rabbits by putting a fence around them and places a price on each. After a while, the rabbits multiply at a rate at which he can't keep up and a little girl walks over and thinks, surely, the man won't notice if I just take one.
The ideas that I will be most likely to use in Part II will be about the inevitability of copyright reform in the 21st century. As one of the interviewees states, "IP is the oil of the 21st century." The Pirate Party is the only party to primarily focus on this future and its creation seems timely in response to this part of the documentary series which came out in 2007.
Li, Miaoran, "The Pirate Party and the Pirate Bay: How the Pirate Bay Influences Sweden and International Copyright Relations" (2009). Pace International Law Review. Paper 290.
Li's paper is both an introduction to the Pirate Party as well as an analysis of the party's obstacles in the EU, namely the TRIPS Treaty and the WIPO Copyright Treaty. It is broken into three sections. The first section is an overview of the history of copyright infringement beginning with Catholic Saints, moving through cassette tapes, floppy disks, the Bulletin Board System and ending with Napster. He briefly reviews the history of the copyright regulations important to his analysis including the Berne Convention and ending with IPRED (similar to the US's DMCA. In this section he also mentions the party's three most important issues: 1. Reform of the Copyright System 2. Abolition of the Patent System, and 3. Respect for personal privacy. In Section II, Li focuses on the three likely outcomes of the party's success in Sweden. The first is a run in with the International Court of Justice, the second is that their nonconformity would bring in the WTO's dispute resolution system and finally he speculates that the pressure from the success of the Pirate Party of Sweden will cause a harmonization of international copyright laws. He furthers this last point using the examples of the Swiss Copyright Law, which changed after receiving pressure from Germany, and the Indian Patents Act influencing laws in Uruguay. The third section of the paper outlines how the Pirate Party might change international intellectual property laws. He splits this topic into two possible outcomes, that it will change the laws directly and indirectly. Directly, the party will gain representation in Parliament. Indirectly, it's major ideas will be incorporated into other Parties' including the Moderate Party of Sweden.
Li's paper will be useful as a basic introduction to the EU's IP laws especially TRIPS and the WIPO Copyright Treaty, both very actively addressed by the Pirate Party in Sweden today. It is also significant that since this paper has been written (February, 2009), the Pirate Party has indeed gained a seat in Parliament. This allows me to see if what Li describes in Section II are true possibilities.
Mason, Matt. The Pirate's Dilemma How Youth Culture is Reinventing Capitalism. New York: Free Press, 2008.
After presenting the reader through a plethora of examples of how much our culture is dependent on piracy, Mason comes to the conclusion that we have reached "the pirate's dilemma." Much like the prisoner's dilemma in game theory (here the two prisoners are represented by individuals and companies trying to sell their products), the players will have to choose between cooperation with the pirates or fighting them. At this point if one player decides to join in with the pirates by competing and changing their business model, the other will lose. If they both join the pirates, then competition will be even tougher, but they will have a chance at remaining in the market, which they wouldn't if they choose not to participate and fight the pirates with laws. As an example of this model, Microsoft is Player A and decides to fight piracy and Player B is Linux who decides to cooperate with pirates through open source. Player B is ultimately the winner, their prize being innovation, competition, while Player A will remain inefficient and will lose profits.
Though Mason's ideas are intriguing, I think that he is just rehashing the general argument for open source, which most of his book supports through examples. I believe Chapter Two of this book will be most useful for my paper. Titled "The Tao of Pirates: Sea Forts, Patent Trolls, and Why we Need Piracy," Mason explains the use of Sealand as an autonomous state outside the jurisdiction of the UK and how it is the home of the "Royal Family of Sealand's" pirate radio station and the data sanctuary of HavenCo. The Pirate Bay recently tried to purchase Sealand after a damaging fire for 500,000 Euro to house their servers, but their plans were thwarted by the trial. Mason gives some brief information on the Pirate Party. In this chapter he also outlines the "3 habits of highly effective pirates" and encourages youth to look outside of the market, create a vehicle, and to harness their audience. What is most interesting about Mason's book is that he is giving directions on how to harness the power the privacy, which is already forward thinking and more evidence that change is inevitable.
Van der Sar, Ernesto. "TorrentFreak". weblog. 14 July 2009 .
Begun in Germany by "Ernesto Van der Sar" (pseudonym), TorrentFreak is a weblog devoted to all things having to do with filesharing. Included in the top 100 blogs by Technorati, it is the home of the most recent news relevant to filesharing and everything involving the BitTorrent protocol. It's content is under the Creative Commons Attribution_Share Alike license. In August of 2007 TorrentFreak was the first to report that Comcast was manipulating the bandwidth available to BitTorrent users. TorrentFreak is frequently quoted for their "Top 10 Most Downloaded Torrents of the Week" by many newspapers reporting on filesharing.
The site's homepage is simple, with the most recent entries listed on the left and a few advertisements aimed at BitTorrent users on the right, including ads from Frostwire, Wyzo and MP3Rocket, all open source Gnutella clients. Also a right is a list of most popular articles (TorrentFreak's top ten list is usually at the top) and then a list of categories including "DRM and Other Evil" and "Tutorial & How-to." At the very top right of the page are tabs navigating, among other things, to "About" and the "Forum."
TorrentFreak will be useful for my paper because of its thorough coverage of the Pirate Party's ascent into Parliament. It also keeps track of other Pirate Parties as they show up across Europe and the world. Their most recent political entry being the Pirate Party's gaining of a seat in the German Parliament just two weeks after the same thing happened in Sweden. Other articles include, "Pirate Parties to Conquer Europe," "International Umbrella for Pirate Parties," and a US Pirate Party Interview. Each article runs from 300-500 words. TorrentFreak to date has 898 active members contributing to the Forum.