PPI – Painful, Problematic Incompetence

When I joined Pirate Party Australia, I heard about Pirate Parties International (PPI), the umbrella organisation that many Pirate Parties are members of. I was highly interested in its goal of promoting co-operation between Pirate Parties, and initially fully supportive of the organisation.

Over the past twelve months, my view of PPI has gone from being one of enthusiastic support, to one of weariness, and now it has reached total opposition. In this article I will be explaining why I now hold that view. Many Pirates I am in regular contact with know of my disappointment with PPI, and some of the reasons. I felt it was time to compile those reasons into a statement which can be used to support movements within Pirate Party Australia to withdraw from PPI.

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Not Idiots

There appears to be an assumption within the broader intellectual property industries that members of Pirate Parties are just whiny brats who “want everything for free.” They consider us uneducated idiots who have not really given any thought into what we advocate.

I find this odd.

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Party Sovereignty

It might come as a surprise to many non-Pirates that there is no real organisation of the international movement. Rather, each Party has complete sovereignty over its own affairs.

There are a few multi-party organisations:

  • Pirate Parties International (PPI). This organisation does not dictate policy, and has only a few rules of membership. It’s primary function is to assist collaboration, facilitate communication, and help local parties start up.
  • European Pirate Party (PPEU). This does not dictate local policy, but instead works on a joint platform for the European Parliamentary elections. It’s effectively just another tier of government.
  • African Coalition of Pirate Parties (ACPP). An organisation about which little is known, but appears to be led by one of the two Tunisian Pirate Parties.
  • Pirate National Committee/United States Pirate Party (PNC/USPP). A national committee in the United States. As the US cannot truly have federal parties, this organisation works similarly to PPI, and cannot dictate local policy. Not all US Pirate Parties are members.

There are two key issues I want to talk about that this relates to. The first is Kopimism, the second is incest. The reason for these will become apparent below.

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The Trichordist Strawmen

Many readers would be familiar with the strawman fallacy. As I wrote in my previous post, the strawman fallacy works like this:

Person A: “Defense is necessary. We should spend more on protecting the nation.”

Person B: “I don’t think we need to spend more on defense.”

Person A: “Person B doesn’t think defense is important! They would see us be at the mercy of more powerful nations!”

A very simplified version of it, but it gets to the point. Person B has put forward the statement that they think defense is fine as it is. Person A has distorted that argument, and transformed it into something that can be more easily argued against. The easiest option is to reinterpret that statement, and present an emotive argument against it, putting the onus back on Person B to clarify and defend their statement. It’s frustrating being on the receiving end of this.

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Review: “The Case for Copyright Reform” by Christian Engström and Rick Falkvinge.

Christian Engström, MEP, and Rick Falkvinge are two names all Pirates should be familiar with. For the unacquainted – Engström is one of the two Pirate Members of the European Parliament, and Falkvinge is the founder of the Pirate Party movement. The Swedish copyright reformists have written what could well be the most succinct argument for reform, and a detailed explanation for why the Pirate Party exists that rivals any other literature I have come across. The Case for Copyright Reform (2012) is available for free online, and is in the public domain.

In The Case for Copyright Reform, they don’t waste time on any long-winded introductions. In two short pages the authors get straight to the point – file-sharing must be legal to uphold privacy, file-sharing can co-exist with professional creators, and file-sharing will not destroy our culture. Chapter 2 reinforces the notion that the Pirate Party is not anti-copyright. It explains the key elements of the Pirate Platform in regard to copyright: (1) moral rights unchanged, (2) free non-commercial sharing, (3) 20 years of commercial monopoly, (4) registration after 5 years, (5) free sampling, and (6) a ban on DRM.

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Pirate Parties International 2012 GA Roundup

On the weekend that just passed I attended the Pirate Parties International General Assembly. Due to the high cost that would have been involved, I attended as a remote delegate, via video conferencing software.

I was shocked by the lack of co-ordination and thought put into the conference. I had heard stories about various problems that occurred at the last two General Assemblies, but did not think the situation could have been that bad.

This years’ General Assembly was “that bad”.

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Rick Falkvinge: “Why Are You Here?” Transcript

[The following is a transcript of Rick Falkvinge’s keynote speech at the 2011 Pirate Parties International General Assembly. It is edited slightly to improve readability, but is faithful to Rick’s intention. The original video can be found here.]

We’ve certainly come a long way. We’ve certainly come an enormous way since we first met in Vienna, Austria in 2007.

I’d like to dedicate this quite emotional closing keynote to one of the organisers of the 2007 event, who sadly is no longer with us. Florian Huffskey was the founder of the Austrian Pirate Party, and one of the most emotional and inspiring people I have ever had the privilege of getting to know.

So Florian, in loving memory.

Why are you here? Seriously! I mean, that’s a serious question – why are you here? Are you dumb? Are you stupid? Everybody knows how you change the world. We’ve all learnt that. You write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, and you’re happy if they publish it, and so you’ve done your little bit of changing the world. Who is out of their mind and actually goes to start a political party, and think they can accomplish something? Are you dumb?

Let me tell you why I’m here.

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