September 24, 2012

Senior Pirate Party politician won’t let you pirate her book

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To the surprise of many, not least the German political establishment, the Pirate Party has become a viable option, winning seats and quickly gaining traction with the youth vote. They are now the fourth most popular party in Germany.

The Party, which supports the free exchange of copyrighted content for non-commercial uses on the Internet, is not blanketly opposed to copyright. Rather, according to Eric Westervelt on NPR.org, the Party has a vision of digital democracy through what they call “liquid feedback.” Says Westervelt,

“The party sees this as expanded participatory democracy for the digital age: a way everyone can take part in real-time cyberdebates to come up with practical solutions and help formulate policy.”

Now, Pirate Party leader Julia Schramm has been accused of hypocrisy by the German press after Schramm’s publisher took action against pirated copies of her book, Klick mich: Bekenntnisse einer Internet-Exhibitionistin, or, Click Me: Confessions of an Internet Exhibitionist. Also for having no sense of irony.

Fabian Reinbold in Der Spiegel writes that the publisher Knaus Verlag, owned by Random House, filed a takedown request earlier this week to stop illegal copies being distributed online.

The controversy is unfortunate, as it allows the personal failures of Schramm to overshadow the legitimate and truly intriguing beliefs of the party. A party that is in fact one of the only political parties worldwide that addresses the issues of those digitally-concerned in an innovative way.

Even if you’re not a cheerleader for the public domain, a new political force for tech has some appeal.  According to Pirate Party member Martin Delius,

“…The substantial issue of the party: Do not restrict the free flow of information because there is so much good coming out of it that it weighs up all the bad things that can happen,” he says. “What is still important to the party is to have fun and be ironic with yourself, to try not to be self-satisfied because that’s what is left out in politics.”

 

 

Ariel Bogle is a former publicist at Melville House.

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