Free Speech

So, let me see if I’m getting this right. Legislation is being mooted by an unelected plutocrat that would effectively criminalise one Briton in eight. Anti-piracy association FACT are pushing for no-trial prosecutions due to the sheer weight of numbers of people they plan to put through the courts. It would seem that now is the time to either bone up on copyright law, or buy shares in prison construction companies.

The launch of the Pirate Party in the UK couldn’t have been better timed then, really. Their manifesto gladdens my heart, and I’d just like to quickly quote from the front page:

In recent years we have seen an unprecedented onslaught on the rights of the individual. We are treated like criminals when we share entertainment digitally, even though this is just the modern equivalent of lending a book or a DVD to a friend. We look on helpless as our culture and heritage, so important for binding our society together, is eroded and privatised.

Now there is a democratic alternative. We, the people, can take back our rights. We, the people, can overturn the fat cats and the corrupt MPs who hold our nation’s cultural treasures to ransom, ignore our democratic wishes and undermine our civil liberties.

The internet has turned our world into a global village. Ideas can be shared at incredible speed, and at negligible cost. The benefits are plain to see, but as a result, many vested interests are threatened. The old guard works hard to preserve their power and their privilege, so we must work hard for our freedom. The Pirate Party offers an alternative to the last century’s struggles between political left and political right. We are open to anyone and everyone who wants to live in a fair and open society.

I can’t agree more. I’m sick and tired of the thoughtless and bloodyminded manner in which punishment and retribution is being sought from movie and music moguls who can’t see past the blunt end of their revenue streams. Spotify and programs of that ilk are not the full answer (just look at the disturbing evidence that if you’re not on a major label, then your royalty rate plummets) but it’s a start, and significantly better than assuming that your entire client base is stealing from you. The approach the Pirate Party seem to be taking is one that actively seeks out innovation and practical solutions to a game where the rules, scorecard and goalposts are changing at a dizzying rate. Rather that than the one we have at the moment, where legislation is led by outside interests and is frequently rushed through, ill-conceived or plain wrong.

I know which side I’m on.

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Writer. Film-maker. Cartoonist. Cook. Lover.

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