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Pirate Party demonstrators at a rally in Stockholm, Sweden on June 3, 2006.  (Source: Marcus Andersson)
Early predictions of America's newest political optimistic

Citing the state of Utah’s “strong history of political diversity and technological progress,” the Pirate Party of the United States has officially opened its doors for signatures in the state of Utah. The Utah branch, known officially as The Pirate Party of Utah, has until February 2008 to collect the 2000 signatures it needs for official recognition.

Ray Jenson, interim Administrator for the Pirate Party of Utah, says, “This is a big step forward for our party. Utah is a perfect place to start. With the right people, we actually stand a chance at turning around the civil liberties situation.”

In an e-mail correspondence with DailyTech, Jenson revealed that while The Pirate Party of Utah does not wish to be overconfident, at the current rate it expects to meet the minimum signature requirement sometime in mid-November. Note that these estimates represent actual, legally useful signatures -- not site registrations, which number substantially higher. Website registrations cannot be counted officially -- in fact, according to Jenson, the “register” link is only for “forum registration, and has nothing to do with [the] party.”

Aaccording to its web site, the Pirate Party of the U.S. was founded in July 2006, and seeks to change United States laws that govern over copyright, privacy and network neutrality. “The Pirate Party wants to return copyright law to its original purpose: to promote distribution of works as rapidly and widespread as possible,” states one section of on copyright issues; “we wish to rescind the many, mostly harmful, copyright acts that have been passed since the Copyright Act of 1790. In our view, America got it right the first time.”

Despite the name, The Pirate Party does notcondone the stealing of copyrighted works: “We've chosen to adopt the Pirate name so as to pay homage to the creative artists of the past, or as they would now be known, Pirates, thieves, and copyright infringers. We do not support nor condone any unlawful distribution of copyrighted works.”

The Pirate Party of the U.S. is representative of a larger international movement, says spokesman Andrew Norton, and Pirate Parties in various forms exist in Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Germany and others. Originating in Sweden, The Pirate Party or Piratpartiet, has met considerable success since its founding on January 1, 2006. In just 36 hours, Piratpartiet gathered 4,725 signatures, 2,275 over the 2,000 minimum signatures needed to gain official recognition. In the Swedish General Election of 2006, the party captured almost 35,000 votes, making them the 10th largest party out of the 40 parties participating.

Plans are already in the works for the party’s first rally, however the details have not finalized. “We'll issue a press release as the details are finalized,” says Jenson.



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By RedHeron on 8/18/2007 8:47:10 PM , Rating: 2
This is my own opinion. Most of it agrees with the philosophies of the Pirate Party. The parts that don't are my own stance, and don't really reflect on the party as a whole.

Apologies for the length of the post. I'm trying to respond to everyone at once.

The way I see it, everyone in the country is a pirate.

The reason I have this view is that the definition that industry groups use to define what is or is not considered infringement (e.g., piracy). The main definition that seems constant is "duplicating anything created by someone else without their permission" and their actions indicate that they don't even respect the idea of public domain music.

Thus, anyone who uses language (by this set of ridiculous specifications) is a pirate. Thus, a political party with the same name makes a lot more sense. This also makes what the industry organizations does a direct attack on the freedom of speech. Protecting rights is fine and good, but not at the expense of progress.

Truly, using the name offered as an epithet as a badge of honor will speak volumes to those in the future.

Our list of issues are starting to look similar to a group of men in the late 1700's who decided to break away from their government. While we have no such intention, it bears mentioning that this group of men also wrote the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, and many of these also participated in the Bill of Rights that gave us a wide variety of powers in acting against those our founding fathers saw as tyrants.

The real question is, who would really want to join us? I mean, we're one of these "here today, gone tomorrow" political parties, right?

Not so.

We're likely going to be debating about lots of issues, because a pirate is historically someone who acts in a way that is unconventional, irrational, and often dangerous. Pirates did kill people, historically. However, so did the East Indian Trading Company (and with far more regularity than most of the pirates they often hanged, keel-hauled, and quartered). Our aim is to bring the word 'pirate' into everyone's minds at all times, because only when people are free to act can our party be silent.

My name is Ray Jenson. I am a pirate, just like the rest of the citizens in my country. I don't participate in file-sharing, illegal downloads, or other practices, because to me the law is important enough to warrant respect (even if I do want it changed to something more rational). However, being a pirate means that I have a vested interest in freedom. It also means I have a vested interest in privacy, due process, and governmental transparency. Governments should protect these as inalienable, and view any erosion as a serious offense against the people. As citizens, we should also realize that those in power, while powerful, are not omniscient. We should help the government understand that they don't get to hold all the cards. The best way to do this is to vote.

The real point of the party is to vie for its own death. By this, I mean that we shouldn't need to exist. The need, however, is one that has existed as long as there have been people who vie for absolute power over something or someone. These rights belong to everyone.

When our government uses its influence to try to protect a single industry (such as the WTO sanctions against China and the threat of the same against Sweden), then that act is inherently based in corruption, rather than in the best interests of any population. Who is the more criminal: the file-sharer who infringes on copyright when he so much as speaks, or the politician who serves the aims of a single industry?

And in one senator's case, both have been the case, apparently.

We believe in protecting copyright. However, current laws are extremely against both progress and creative process. People who listen to poetry quoted into sound can listen if they pay. And if that sound is converted back into text, it's the same laws that should protect it. Protecting something for the entire lifetime of the artist (plus 50 years) is ridiculous, especially when the bulk of art that has been produced is no longer used (and under current law, much of it is unusable).

With copyright, we are aiming for a more reasonable term, the loosening of definitions of what is or is not considered infringement, and a return to a more rational ideal than the current standards under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. We also view the RIAA's activities in civil litigation a kind of circumvention of due process. They're not acting out of a sense of protecting the artists; they're acting out of a sense of protecting their bottom line--an industry largely marginalized by the advent of the internet. This industry fears for its livelihood, but it has nothing to fear any more than a bookstore has anything to fear from a public library.

And now this same industry wants to change laws to require free radio stations to pay a fee each time they play a song--an activity that has been protected by Congress for over 50 years. This isn't about actual protection of rights. It's about preserving a failing business model--one that is stuck in the Industrial Age, even as society moves into the Information Age.

This is my own thought. The real question now is: how much of what I've written is pirated? All of it, according to the standards promoted by industry groups. And according to my standard, I've borrowed from more than 3 sources, so it's research. The standards of law bear that out.

And, just for the record, I create music, write, and produce graphic arts. I also work for a small-circulation newspaper. Most of my work is free to copy and use. However, much of it is not. For these pieces, I have strict limitations over how it should be used. But in a year, if you wanted to run it all over again, I wouldn't mind, so long as my name was still attached.

So you see, I'm not anti-copyright. I don't think that abolition is a good answer. I'm also emphatically in favor of law and order. I don't believe in upholding any activities that are illegal under the law. And if it's a bad law, it should be changed. Or rewritten from the ground up.

Copyright is a good place to begin.

My name is Ray Jenson. I am a pirate, just like everyone else in the country.




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