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Interview With Leader of Sweden's Pirate Party 476

CrystalFalcon writes "Linux-P2P has published an interview with Rick Falkvinge, leader of the Swedish Pirate Party which is aiming to gain entry to Swedish Parliament this fall. (The party's founding was previously covered on Slashdot.) The party is totally for real, totally serious, and has seen approval ratings of 57% in some polls, with only four percent needed to gain seats. Its goals are to cut back copyrights, abolish patents, and strengthen the right to privacy."
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Interview With Leader of Sweden's Pirate Party

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  • here? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sjg ( 957424 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @10:04AM (#15049640) Homepage
    I would be curious to hear arguments as to the viability of a pirate party in the US.
  • Not Very Bright (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Aque0us ( 955275 ) <> on Monday April 03, 2006 @10:08AM (#15049667)
    Such a thing makes you wonder, if copyright were to be abolished in such a fashion as Falkvinge is proposing, then would the artist/director/musician have any incentive to pour his time and money into a project?

    While I believe that many aspects of copyright are downright silly, this could be related to a kid whining about not getting what he wants.
  • worth noting (Score:1, Interesting)

    by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @10:09AM (#15049679) Homepage
    Worth noting is that the 57% approval rating was most likely achieved on a completely unbiased straw poll on DALnet.

    I very seriously doubt 4% of the voting public is even aware of this party's existence. We already have three other new mobs of power-hungry morons^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H groups of upstanding, concerned citizens hogging the spotlight; don't expect this one to make much of a splash.

  • by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @10:10AM (#15049686) Homepage Journal
    with a name like "Pirate Party". Certainly it does no harm whatsoever to the cause of copyright reform internationally to associate everyone who wants copyright law liberalized a little with wanton copyright infringers.

    (The word "sarcasm" appears in this sentence for the 20% of Slashdotters who never recognize it when it appears.)

  • by TechnoGuyRob ( 926031 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @10:10AM (#15049690) Homepage
    As we all know, today is the Information Age. For this reason, I believe that information should not be restricted anymore. I know that as an individualistic--as opposed to collectivistic--society we find the individual's achievements laudable and attributable. However, as we have seen over the past decade, movements towards free information have been very successful. "Piracy" has rampaged. Firefox has flourished. The internet has become (in my opinion, at least) one of the greatest inventions of mankind. EVER. Because of Tim Berners-Lee's refusal to privatize or commercialize the internet.

    Sweden is a strong country as far as free information goes; very little is restricted. For example, the popular torrent website The Pirate Bay [], a warehouse of torrents for popular files is hosted in Sweden and hasn't had much problems with the Swedish authorities. Interestingly, its corresponding crime rate [] is one of the lowest in the world--60 people imprisoned per 100,000, as compared to the United States' 690.

    Call me unpatriotic, call me crazy, but I think this "Pirate Party" might very well just be a good idea. It will give people a different perspective on things: It is possible to not restrict information, and still manage a flourishing--if not something greater--economy and society.

    I, for one, welcome our new pirate overlords.
  • The Pirate Bay (Score:2, Interesting)

    by celardore ( 844933 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @10:11AM (#15049695)
    There's a famous Swedish pirate site. I wonder if there's a link....
  • by richie2000 ( 159732 ) <> on Monday April 03, 2006 @10:25AM (#15049796) Homepage Journal
    Do these guys realise that abolishing patents means the death of the chemical and pharmaceutical industries?

    No we don't, for the simple reason that it isn't true. Do the math yourself. Or, read up on some people who have:

    Dean Baker []
    George Monbiot []

    In fact, our very own Ericsson was founded by copying a Siemens telephone design. History shows, repeatedly, that countries and/or markets with little or no IP protection flourish for the simple reason that time-to-market and true innovation are much stronger incentives for the making of new creations than the stale state-imposed monopolies of patent and copyright.

    No country, Schiff notes, has ever contributed "as many basic inventions in this field as did Switzerland during her patentless period".

  • Re:Abolish patents? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Surt ( 22457 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @10:38AM (#15049891) Homepage Journal
    The problem most of us have with patents is just that they are so severely broken that we'd be better off with no patents than with the current system. Which is not to say that something in between might not be best, but it would need to be much closer to the no patents side of things than the current system, and so it will seem to many that abolishing patents entirely (and then if need be re-establishing a new system) would be a good solution.

  • Abolish patents? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wile_e_wonka ( 934864 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @11:11AM (#15050215)
    I don't think it would be wise to abolish patents. For some things patents are not needed (business methods...), but, for other things, the vitality of the industry depends on patents.

    Here's what I mean: pharmaceuticals. Some countries still don't patent them; they also don't have a pharmaceutical industry. It costs a ton of money to create a new drug, and it takes a long time to make a profit of that drug. If no patent on the drug was allowed, then other companies would quickly copy the drug, and then sell it at a lower price than the developer of the drug would be able to. There would be no profit in research and development--so no new drugs would be developed, everyone would just copy each other's old drugs.

    What would happen instead is something that already hinders the industry to a degree--trade secrets. Patents would be replaced by trade secrets. Since "the next big drug" usually comes from developments ontop of earlier research, each company would be totally separate not telling the other what its developed, so each company would be duplicating research to find out what another company had already discovered. So it is much more efficient to have patents where the discovery is published but protected. Then research need not be inefficiently duplicated at a huge wasteful cost.

    I think that if patents were actually abolished governments would be required to take up the slack. It would be like public roads--no single entity profits from deciding to make a road unless they will make money. Since they can't make money of developing drugs without outside help, the government must offer that help--so the government would have to fund new drug development. Or, they could just use patents.

    How would you like it if you were Motorola, and you spent $10,000,000 depeloping a new technology for a telephone, and then, 6 months after you put it on sale, all the other major companies have developed the exact same thing but can undercut your price because they only had to pay $500,000 for research and development (research consisted of dismantling your invention; development consisted of reproducing it)? According to the article, to make money Motorola needs to just develop something better than the last thing. So, it spends $10,000,000 developing something even better. 6 months later, Nokia had that copied and out on their new phones as well, also undercutting your price.

    If you don't believe me regarding this scenario--look at history. Experiences exactly like this are the very reason that patent law came into existence in the first place. Do we really want to go back where we already were, find out again that it was bad, and then reimpliment patent infinitum???

  • Re:Not Very Bright (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nondescrypt ( 460598 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @11:22AM (#15050323)
    As a musician / artist i can honestly tell you THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO monetary incentive for me to do my art. I, like most real artists, do it because i love to, big business owns & controls all media & block all newcomers out. (except for the ones they control)
    They have NO interest in art & ALL interest in $$$. surely even the dimmest of you must realize this.
    My art is REALLY good but i am now self employed doing something totally unrelated to survive & my art after that cause i love to.
    Big Business could NEVER nurture art or artists, it's oil & water.
    creativity and greed are complete opposites & its either one OR the other
    please understand & put an end to this "copyright supports artists"
    it really do not. at all
    Rock On Pirate Party !!!!!!!!!
  • Re:Abolish patents? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CasaVacas ( 720327 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:32PM (#15051088)
    For me, your example is both right and wrong. I don't disagree that a company should have some way to protect its edge over it's competition. However what most of us anti-patent people object to is that they patent generic stuff. Like if Motorola where to patent an input device based on a numerical keysystem ranging from 0 - 9. We see far to many of these generic patents slide by and be protected. This hurts both inovation and the economy in the long run.
    As a swede i will vote on the pirateparty this coming election. Not because i agree with _everything_, but because in some topics a voice of opposition need to be heard and taken seriously.
    Bork bork!
  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @12:47PM (#15051230) Journal
    Another problem with the US system (and other similar systems):

    You can't vote "NO!" to a candidate. You can only vote "Yes!".

    So even if 55% dislike candidate A, but only 25% are fine with candidate A, if the 55% can't agree on who to vote "Yes!" to (or they stay at home in disgust) instead, candidate A has a good chance of winning.

    Now I claim more people would vote if they could vote "No!".

    It'll be worth it even if the candidate still wins - but with a net negative total ;).
  • Re:here? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by grim1977 ( 945112 ) on Monday April 03, 2006 @03:46PM (#15052783)
    Yes, you are absolutely right. We still need the archaic institution that makes it so that if you live in a heavily populated state your vote means less than if you live in a sparsely populated one. Heaven forbid that we actually wake up and take a look at the 200 hundred year old system of voting and modernize it. Why it would be impossible to design and implement a voting system that is fair and trustworthy with all this new fangled fancy electric type writers some people seem to think can do important things faster and more efficently. You're right too that we should keep in place a system in which we do not elect these representatives to the Electoral College and that they can vote how ever they please despite the votes of the citizens they represent. Why should we replace a system in which a canidate could win the "popular" vote but not the election?

Things are not as simple as they seems at first. - Edward Thorp