John Dvorak, one of the most respected tech writers, writes this surprise column in PC Magazine:
"Overlooked by the major media is the weird situation in Sweden, where a political party and lobbying organization has cropped up with the sole purpose of overturning the current crop of copyright and patent laws and creating something more modern and realistic: the Pirate Party and the Pro Piracy Lobby. This movement, while unlikely to have any effect in the U.S., could change things so dramatically in parliamentary democracies that we'd feel the aftershock anyway.Attempts were made to shut the sites down. This has then turned political with the US and WTO. Now many of the youth of Europe are politicizing around the issue. Dvorak continues:
This all began with the recent shutdown of The Pirate Bay, a famous quasi-legal Web site run out of Sweden. The Pirate Bay has been playing various games with the government over the past year, moving its server around. The site can best be described as the Napster of BitTorrent sites, one of a few mega-sites where kids manage their P2P file sharing. It's used mostly for music and movie trading in violation of copyright, and everyone knows it. But under Swedish law, it may not be doing this illegally."
"Today's youth internationally are not like anything we've seen before. Their view of the world is skewed by the media and new realities. When they see all these restrictions, they see them done on behalf of fat guys who are flying around in private jets ...they are seeing a different world than most of us did when we were growing up. It's nuts. It looks unfair or, worse, exploitative.Read the full article here...
Then they see old ladies arrested for copyright violations because a grandkid downloaded a song. Dead people are indicted in hysterical sweeps. Kids are threatened with ruination for song-swapping.
In a parliamentary system, a group like the Pirate Party, which will quickly surpass Sweden's Green Party, doesn't have to win a majority of seats to have an effect. In multiparty systems (unlike in the U.S.), you have to form coalitions to rule, and all sorts of deals are made for anything to get done. And I suspect that a lot of older politicos are tired of being pushed around by U.S. intellectual-property monopolists and would love to side with the Pirate Party on the excuse that they "had to."
...To American ears, this all seems and sounds silly. But the moniker for the Pirate Party in Swedish, Piratpartiet, actually has a nice ring to it.
...I'm not sure how far any of this will go, and perhaps this new up-and-coming youth culture will get caught up in chat rooms or online games or green-tea cultivation instead of fighting this fight. But this much I can tell you: If they decide to make a fight of it, they'll win, and things will indeed change. Stay tuned.
"The Pirate Party"?? This doesn't sound good for musicians or developers. Maybe time to start our own politcal party.