Monday, July 06, 2009

Arrrgh Matey! Prepare to be Boarded

Alright, as reported in my last blog about the fact Canada is the new Rogue Nation, I reported that there is a move afoot to develop a Pirate Party in Canada. The website is reporting that a Pirate Group, or party is being formed at McGill University.

I have just registered to start a formal club at McGill Called the Pirate Party of Canada Club. It will be a while before it is official, but the wheels are now turning. The plan so far is just to get a bunch of Pirate-Sympathizers together and start scheming about how to build the party. If others start sprouting up similar organizations across the country, we will be off to a good start.

Anyone in Montreal interested in working toward the formation of the Pirate Party of Canada should let me know and we’ll schedule meetings.

Anyone passing through Montreal should let me know and we’ll start meeting each other and sharing ideas.

For anyone thinking about starting similar organizations at other schools, I’ll post the first draft of our club constitution below… it might save you some time. Please feel free to critique. Most of the document is there to satisfy the school’s guidelines. We had a little fun with the preamble but there are many improvements to be made I imagine!

I’m thinking that local clubs like these might serve as a good starting point to get PPofC off the ground. First we’ll try to establish ourselves locally in isolation; then we’ll get the communication lines running and start wikiing together the national movement; then we’ll be ready to write up the formal documents, register with the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, and really get cracking!

The news site Zero Paid is reporting the new Party is looking for members to join this band of Buccaneers.

Before I go any further, perhaps we need to remind ourselves what it means to be a pirate:

Yes, it means adventures on the High Seas, the clash of cutlass & sword, and Keira Knightley. It means searching for buried treasure, or boarding gold laden galleons. All of which would be reason enough to joining the merry band of sea dogs.

Well, not quite.

The Pirate Party of Canada is a party of ideas and ideals. I know it would be simple and easy to dismiss this group as simply "making the Internet safe for sharing copyrighted material", but that would be both naive and proof you've been reading too much material from the RIAA and its Canadian equivalent. By the way, on the Canadian site, there's a news article entitled: France's solution to online Piracy, which was recently declared unconstitutional.

The Goal of the Party is found in the Manifesto of the Swedish Party, which is probably going to take on the same authority as the Charter of the Global Greens, which presents the principles which all Green Parties acknowledge as the basis of the Party.

Likely the same could be said for the Pirate Party Declaration of Principles 3.2. There is now a 3.3 by the way.

The Principles are in the Introduction:
The Pirate-Party’s values are based on 3 fundamental values: that the personal integrity must be protected, that culture must be set free, and that patents and private monopolies are harmful for society.
We are now, in a society of surveillance in which practically everyone is registered and monitored. It is not consistent with a modern society of law that all citizens are subjected to surveillance and therefore are treated as suspects. Democracy requires strong protection of privacy.
Copyright was created to benefit society by encouraging the creation, development and dissemination of culture. The achievement of these goals requires a balance between society's demands for access and dissemination and the author's requirements for recognition and compensation. We believe, that today's copyright is out of balance. A society where culture and knowledge is free and accessible to all on equal terms benefit the society as a whole. We argue that a widespread and systematic abuse of today's copyright actively discourage these purposes by limiting both the range of culture and access to culture.
Private monopolies is one of societies archenemies. This is because it leads to excessive prices and large hidden costs for the citizens. Patents are officially sanctioned monopoly on ideas. Larger companies are fighting feverishly to break records in number of patents, which they then often use against smaller competitors in order to not be able to compete with the larger company. The monopolist’s goal is not to keep a fair market price and compete on equal terms with the customer’s benefits, price, and quality in mind. On the contrary, the patent laws are used as a lever to raise prices to a level which a free and fair market would never have paid, and to impose restrictions that it never would accept. We want to limit the possibilities of creating unnecessary and harmful monopolies.
Trademarks are primarily a protection for the consumers. We believe that the trademark law in essence works well today, so we propose no changes.

The Pirate Party of Canada echoes those principles:
The Pirate-Party of Canada values are based on three fundamental values:
that the personal integrity must be protected, that culture must be set free and that patents and private monopolies are harmful for society.

So a little more then simply sharing or stealing files as some would accuse them of espousing. When you think about it, these are issues which should concern all of us. We are becoming the surveillance society. Look around how many CCTV cameras are in operation. In the larger cities, it is the new reality. Right now, most of us see them on traffic lights, only operational when some jerk speeds through a red, and there is certainly some justification for them to be there, but what about as you enter your friendly Wal-Mart? If you think its bad here, just visit the UK; it is considered the world's leader on CCTV surveillance. A recent article in the Guardian reports on the incredible number of cameras that are trained on the average citizen. The article, entitled Every Step you Take declares:
Millions of people walk beneath the unblinking gaze of central London's surveillance cameras. Most are oblivious that deep under the pavements along which they are walking, beneath restaurant kitchens and sewage drains, their digital image is gliding across a wall of plasma screens.

So the issue is more then downloading the latest MP3 file of the popular group or singer of the moment, it's some serious material that needs to be discussed. Right now it seems that governments are more interested in curtailing civil liberties then protecting them. Of course that is done in the name of protecting and fighting the war against terrorism. It's the whole "destroy a village to save it" mentality. It is also interesting to note that political parties that want to curtail and make government smaller, are the ones who want to expand the powers of government to find out more about you. So while they cut health care, they expand the authority to learn everything about you. It's as if they are waiting for you to mess up.

If that wasn't enough, consider this fact: the Pirate Party sells cool tee shirts and other paraphernalia, for the well dressed pirate to wear.

To quote Captain Jack Sparrow: "Savvy"

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