The Pirate Party, a UK political party that wants to reform copyright and patent law, has posted its 2010 election manifesto online.
The Pirate Party's manifesto includes altering the "hopelessly out of date copyright law" to come up with a "fair and balanced" copyright law that is suitable for the 21st Century. The party says that although artists should be the only people making money for their work, there also needs to be a fair use policy for the public. "We will legalise use of copyright works where no money changes hands, which will give the public new rights," the manifesto promises. These new rights include:
- A new right to format shift (for example, buy a CD then copy it to an iPod - which is currently illegal);
- A new right to time shift (record a TV programme for watching later) and
- A new right to share files (which provides free advertising that is essential for less-well-known artists).
Though it sounds like the Pirate Party is all for file sharing, the manifesto stipulates that counterfeiting, and profiting directly from other people's work without paying them, will remain illegal.
Copyright and file sharing aside, another big issue the Party wants to take on is the people's privacy. The Party wants forbid third parties from intercepting or monitoring your activity online unless they have a specific, court-issued warrant.
"We believe privacy of the individual should be upheld at all times. We feel citizens should have the right to private and confidential communication; and therefore we will forbid third parties from intercepting or monitoring communication traffic (i.e. telephone calls, post, internet traffic, emails), and require specific warrants to be issued by a court before the police are allowed to monitor traffic. We will give the public a new right to encrypt their private data."
The Party also wants to introduce stronger data protection laws and the right to apply for compensation if you have been affected by government data loss.
As far as freedom of speech goes, the Pirate Party says it plans to legislate in favour of net neutrality and pledges to prevent government censorship of the Web for anything other than the extreme (like state secrets and child abuse).
The manifesto also promises cheaper Internet service by having customers only pay for the connection they get, instead of the max speed they are promised.
"We will solve the problem of false and misleading advertising of internet speeds by giving customers a new right to pay only for the fraction of the claimed broadband speed that the provider actually delivers, so if you sign up for an 8Mb/s connection and only receive 2Mb/s, you would only have to pay a quarter of the agreed price."
The rest of the document promises rights for whistle blowers; better computing education in schools; rights for photographers and filmmakers to go about their business without persecution under anti-terror laws; not using libel law to smother free speech; encouraging libraries and museums to digitize their content and "a new right for disabled people to demand an unrestricted version of DRM protected content where that is necessary to allow them to access it."
Check out the full manifesto here.