Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Redefining piracy

Christian Engström, Piratpartiet's MEP reports on proceedings at JURI, the EU committee on legal affairs, who have been debating counterfeiting and piracy - specifically this document:
Enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the internal market 
- which contains plans to set up an 'observatory' on counterfeiting and piracy.

It's an initiative that PP blogger Mikael Nilsson describes as "a comprehensive campaign to, together with the copyright industry, find the best methods to chase and brainwash  the population"

Christian, who sits on JURI as part of his work at the EU parliament, took the chance at the meeting to point out that counterfeiting and piracy are not at all the same thing - and that piracy is is not a judicial term and they in fact mean copyright infringement. 

He's only partly right since (maritime) piracy is defined in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982 as "any criminal acts of violence, detention, or depredation committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or aircraft that is directed on the high seas against another ship, aircraft, or against persons or property on board a ship or aircraft."  (It must be true... Wikipedia says so...).  ..which begs the question what does that have to do with intellectual property and copyright?

Christian's point though is that lumping non-commercial file sharing, which Piratpartiet wants to legalise, with counterfeiting, which we don't, muddies the waters -  and really only to the benefit of the copyright industry. 

In the comments to the article 'Daniel' points out that use of the term piracy is most probably because it's stigmatising meaning has taken root.  ..and of course he's right.  Talking about 'Piracy' is intended to imply that something bad is happening and the term can't be considered neutral or impartial. 

Which set me thinking... we need a campaign to take back what is ours.  Conservatives have conservatism.  Liberals have liberalism, and Pirates have piracy.  In a political context Pirates now means the pirate movement, and piracy by analogy properly ought to mean "following pirate ideology" - sharing culture, opposing intellectual monopolies and above all respect for civil and human rights (like privacy).

In which case... an observatory on 'piracy' would be a good thing...  (We need more people looking out for our rights and principles)

Anyone care to sign up?

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