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Noveau Pirate

June 4, 2012

Times are changing. They always are. What is not changing is the need for people to keep fighting for the ownership of their basic human rights which are constantly being subverted for the gain of a few. In the new pirates we see the ongoing trial of permissions that characterises disruptive technology. Who will own the future freedoms? Who are the pirates?

The modern pirate supports free culture, transparent and accountable government, and engaging democracy. The Pirate Party of Canada has the following points in their 2011 platform: Copyright Law, Patent Law, Privacy, Neutrality, Open Government & Open Access, Whistleblower & Journalist Protection, Protecting Canadians’ Charter Rights..

Our platform is based around information policy. Because we aren’t running enough candidates to have a Pirate-led government, our focus is making specific, simple, and targeted change for the betterment of Canadian information standards.” ~ Shawn Vulliez, Director-at-Large, Pirate Party of Canada

The new pirate engages in a multi-layered debate, reflecting over questions regarding copying, information infrastructure, and digital culture. The current ideas about intellectual property do not translate into the digital domain so there has developed a divide between those who believe in the free sharing of information and culture, and those who don’t. The outcome of this debate will have serious ramifications for creativity in mathematics, science, humanities, and anything that utilizes numbers and letters. In simple terms, what is on the line is all people’s freedom of speech.

The matters of fundamental freedoms which arise are not of great concern to everybody since some stand to profit at the expense of others. In this regard file sharing, and with it the fundamental communications mechanisms that people use to share information with one another, has become a battle ground. It is interesting to hear some of the reasons that people give to justify why they think it is OK to share digital movie and music files. Here are some comments:
– one doesn’t like one’s money flowing to organizations trying to mess with internet freedom. Any money to RIAA or MPAA is money funding the assault on civil liberties and the expansion of the corporate police state.
– artificial restrictions like DRM make the ‘pirate’ service a better product.
– one may object on principle to copyright law or copyright law being applied to non-commercial copying.

Times change and communication between people all over the world is almost all moved over to the digital domain. The issue of digital freedom is now coming to a head, but it was a fight which started half a century ago. The Free Speech Movement of the 1960s was part of the culture that helped shape the free-software/open-source movement which has empowered the people to take up the world wide communication and information sharing that the internet provides. Although we are now well into an electronic frontier, this half century old speech still resonates.

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!” ~ Mario Savio on Sproul Hall Steps, December 2, 1964.

Young people all over the world have been prodded into action by attempts to destroy their digital culture. World wide efforts to limit and control person-to-person communication along with disregard for human rights has firmly placed the protagonists thereof in the enemy camp. The pirate movement is therefore now being enriched by people newly awakening to political life and newly involving themselves in the struggle to protect civil rights and free speech.

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