Wednesday, February 09, 2011

United States Pirate Party Platform - Abolish the DMCA!

Logo of the United States Pirate Party
(courtesy Wikipedia)

To learn about joining the United States Pirate Party, go here.

Platform (courtesy Wikipedia)

The Pirate Party's platform centers around issues of intellectual property. "Like its international counterparts, the USPP’s main practical concerns are digital intellectual property and privacy laws—specifically, the abolition of a 1998 digital U.S. copyright law, the reduction of copyrights to 14 years (from 95 years after publication, or 70 years after the author’s death), and the expiration of patents that don’t result in significant progress within four years (as opposed to 20 years)."[3]

Reform of TrademarkTrademarks are abused around the world, in that they contain elements which are protected by either copyright or patent. A single protection for trademarks should exist, and fair use provisions made as with copyright. Trademarks should also not appear as the central issue on any dispute not arising from fraud.

Abolition of Digital Rights ManagementAll DRM and similar schemes do are to encourage people to find ways to prevent loss by circumvention. DRM is the key issue in the DMCA, and the chief reason that our population is now breaking the law en masse. DRM itself also inhibits the rights of artists to have their works experienced in as close to a live act as possible.

Right to PrivacyRegulatory bodies are, by their very nature, governing. They should therefore be prohibited from interfering in a person's private affairs. However, people should remember that their private affairs should remain private. Passwords, encryption, and other forms of electronic privacy should be afforded the same privileges as sealed envelopes.

Right to Government TransparencyThe population should at all times understand what a governing body is doing, with or to whom it is doing these things, and for what reasons. Though there is a need for national security for so long as there are enemies outside of our borders, there should never be any issue with ordinary citizens who need information. Likewise, the responsibility of citizens is to ensure that information which is of a sensitive nature is handled in a sensitive manner, so that it does not fall into the hands of those who would misuse such information to harm human life.

Reform of CopyrightCopyright is flagrantly abused around the world, has an unreasonable term length, and is used to prevent, rather than promote, innovation. This is directly counter to its stated intent in the beginning, of protecting authors' works. Additionally, the right of use should never be in question; merely the right to be credited. The term should be reverted to the 14 year term of the Copyright Act of 1790, with a right to renew for 14 additional years, at most.

Right to AssemblePeaceful assembly is guaranteed by our Constitutional First Amendment, just as free speech and free press is. Permits to protest should only be necessary if protests are planning to be disruptive (marching down streets, etc.). Police should not have a right to—though they are currently not prohibited from—disrupting the exercise of the expression of unpopular free speech.

This also covers community organization, where the political and other needs of a community sometimes requires localized political activism. People need to be able to know that what they believe can be supported; and they need to know that what they believe can be correct—or corrected.

Reform of PatentPatent is abused extensively around the world, has become the chief legal means to suppress innovation, and is largely to blame for stymieing technological progress. The practice of shelving a patent (failing to develop a patented idea which competes with one's own ideas instead of developing both and allowing innovation to spring from them) is abhorrent, and needs to be curtailed within the law. Patents which fail to be developed or have significant progress in any four-year term should be unenforceable.

Right to Free PressSpeech is protected under our Constitution, even unpopular speech, though action carries with it consequences. However, recent erosion of the First Amendment by inattentive lawmakers has led to a suppressive ideology that endangers journalistic freedoms (a necessary freedom in order to keep governments, political parties, and every other organization honest).

Underscored by recent events in St. Paul, reporters who are arrested by mistake for being in an area to report the news should have all charges summarily dismissed unless they were in fact doing damage or harm. This should be a standing policy in all city governments. Reporters form a necessary part of our government process, in bringing truth to the public.

News agencies which seek to misreport the news cannot be trusted to serve the best interests of the people, but there is a difference between news and entertainment. News agencies should have the freedom to decide which is which. However, news agencies should also be restricted from becoming the mouthpieces of special interest. One of the major issues is the limitation of small media outlets. Big media should not control 80% of the market; there should be a limit to the amount of the market that large networks control in any area.

Rejection of the Concept of Copyright infringement or "Online Piracy"Pirate Party Members hold the idea that sharing anything online is piracy is absurd on its face. Some say that actual piracy requires forceful and aggressive acts, committed against those who would keep a cargo safe from harm. The cargo in this case of this viewpoint is the freedom to act. Members would take it from those who jealously guard it for themselves and divide it amongst everyone in the country.

The Pirate Party wants to "raid" the law and "carry away" (repeal) laws which do not serve those on their metaphorical boat. The trick of it is: we're all in the same boat. It is in service to those on our boat (the Earth) that we aim to help.

Members are not willing to accept that file sharing should be banned (and will take steps, once party members are in office, to ensure that any laws in this regard are adamantly opposed, since in their perspective technology isn't the problem, but rather education about what its proper use is). On the other hand, we do agree that there is a significant amount of wrong being done to our rights in the name of protecting those whose sole aim for over 50 years has been the control and manipulation of human minds. Brainwashing our population is against our national interest in maintaining a democracy.

Abolition of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and related subsequent provisions within copyright lawThe Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 provided for legal repercussions for circumvention of copy protection, as well as making backup copies of any media illegal. This act has resulted in the intimidation, prosecution, and/or conviction of tens of thousands of people in our country—people who are otherwise law-abiding and who are not interested in being labeled thieves or crooks for doing what the internet was intended to do: share ideas. This is therefore a First Amendment issue, being freedom of expression, and we call for a repeal of this highly illogical and vertically-oriented law on the grounds that it is simply a bad law.

 Purchase Copyright Litigation Handbook 2010 by Raymond J. Dowd from West here  

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