"Thanks for taking the time to look at what the Pirate Party UK are saying. I'm not at all surprised to see that people much better informed than us are picking holes in our manifesto. If the message that "It would be safer to start correcting some excesses in IP law than to wait that the crowds take over the lead." is acted on in parliament, then we've made a big, big step towards our objectives.The IPKat, who strongly believes that this blog should be an open forum for intelligent informed discussion about IP, regardless of the points of view expressed, very much welcomes Andrew Robinson's comments and looks forward to seeing more discussions about the substance of what the PPUK stand for. Who knows, they might even get some of the IPKat's regular audience to take them seriously.
It is, as I'm sure practitioners in this field know better than anyone, fiendishly difficult to talk about copyright and patents in a language that the general public can relate to, and therefore the broad statements in our manifesto will have loopholes and gray areas.
I'd like to answer a few of the points raised, not in a political argumentative sense, but in an honest attempt to work with skilled people in the field to start a debate that helps us uncover the "few nuggets of wisdom buried in a huge dungpile of nonsense." and polish them up. Yes, we openly admit that our position "fails to recognise basic commitments under international treaties.", because international treaties can be unhelpful and outdated. The US survived very well outside the Berne convention for a very long time, and several far eastern countries have proved the economic benefits of lax application of international law. Yes, s.70 CDPA does provide something near identical to our explanation of the impact of turning copyright into a commercial exploitation right, our dissatisfaction with the narrowness of the word 'broadcast' in that statute was lost in the process of boiling down our thinking on it into a user-friendly manifesto pledge. I'll make sure we don't make this mistake again. Yes, we do realise that biotech patents would have a problem with our approach, but that's intentional, we are against biotech patents. Yes, we realise that covering all claims of a patent in a physical model is difficult, that's entirely intentional, it's our proposed solution to overbroad and vague submarine patents.
I'm actually very excited to read Simon Bradshaw's comment that "heaven help us, for if this represents the state of discourse on fundamental IP policy we are hardly likely to see any intelligent engagement on the subject soon." because it gives me a chance to say I'm not happy with it either, but we are a very open party, and we are aware that what is most needed is "intelligent engagement on the subject". I want you to talk to us, and help us have that intelligent engagement.
As some of you might be aware, yesterday there was a march on parliament protesting about the digital economy bill. It might surprise you to know that as Pirate Party leader, I wasn't there. At the time of the demo, I was at the Counter 2010 conference on counterfeiting and Piracy Research in Manchester, listening to Annette Kur from the Max Planck Institute lecture on best practice in challenging counterfeiting.
If our manifesto worries you, I quite understand, but I would say that perhaps this should worry you more: I spoke to the organisers of Counter 2010 and asked them why the Pirate Party movement had 5 delegates (including one MEP elect) at the conference, but the other parties were not invited. I was told that all the other parties were invited, but had not replied.
As an anonymous commenter suggested, I do believe that "we are witnessing the start of a political platform, as the ecological movement was years ago", if fact I would go a step further and point out that this platform already has representation at the European Parliament, and was able to generate 10,000 letters to MPs expressing concern over the prospect of the Digital Economy Bill going into 'wash up'.
Time to end on a soundbite (I am a politician after all)... I consider my job as leader of the fledgling PPUK to be to build a party that people like the readers of this blog could feel comfortable joining. I know some of you will be laughing when you read that, but I hope a few of you will consider helping us get a little bit closer to that goal, for everyone's benefit."
Thursday, 25 March 2010
post about the UK Pirate Party's recently announced manifesto, at which a few of the IPKat's readers threw some well-aimed comments, the PPUK's prospective parliamentary candidate for Worcester, Andrew Robinson, has written to the IPKat with the following reply: