German Piratenpartei in the Parliament
Good News, Everyone! Yesterday, there were local elections in the German country of Niedersachsen, and 59 (fifty-nine) seats were captured by the German Piratenpartei. This is a terrific result — the German Piratenpartei is on a roll right now. Next weekend, on the elections this coming Sunday, we expect the Piratenpartei to take seats in the Parliament in Berlin. It is absolutely amazing that we are taking the political jobs of those who are defending monopolies, locked-down culture and knowledge, and the erosion of civil liberties all over Europe at this rate. Also, losing one’s job is the only language politicians understand. Up until that point, they had done no wrong.
German Piratenpartei: The Hype Is Over
Party manifesto of the Pirate Party of Germany
Passed on the foundation meeting on the 10th of September 2006 in Berlin.
Despite all lip services the dignity and freedom of the people are endangered in an until now unforeseen manner in the course of the digital revolution of all areas of life. This happens in a pace, which is over challenging for the shaping of public opinion, the national legislation, as well as for every single person. Simultaneously the possibility for shaping this process by employing democratically obtained rules on the level of a single state are decreasing.
The globalisation of knowledge and culture of mankind by digitalization and cross-linkage puts their present legal, economic and social conditions to test. Not least the wrong answers to this challenge abet the accruement of a total and totalitarian surveillance society. The fear of international terrorism lets security appear to be a more important good than freedom - and lots of people wrongly cease defending freedom.
Informational self determination, free access to knowledge and culture and the reservation of privacy are the foundation pillars of the future information society. Only based on this, a democratic, socially fair, freely self-determinated global arrangement can be developed.
The Pirate Party sees itself as a part of an international movement, which wants to help shape this arrangement for the benefit of everyone.
The Pirate Party wants to focus on the topics mentioned in this programme, because we envision this to be the only possibility to enforce these important requirements for the future. Simultaneously we believe, that these topics are worth being supported for all citizens of the whole traditional political spectrum and that positioning us in this spectrum is a burden for our common ambition of preserving privacy and freedom for knowledge and culture.
Copyright and non-commercial copying
The old dream to amass and save all knowledge and culture of humanity and to make it available for now and the future has come to our grasp with the swift technical development. Like all ground-breaking improvements this includes a lot of different areas of life and leads to extensive changes. It is our goal to utilize the chances of this situation and warn against the possible perils. However, current legal conditions concerning copyright constrain the potential of this development, because they found on archaic understanding of so called "intellectual property", which opposes the aim of a knowledge and information society.
No barriers for copying
Systems handicapping or averting copying of creations ("copy protection","DRM" etc.) on a technical level generate an artificial scarcity to make a free good economically exploitable. The generation of artificial scarcity out of pure economical interests seems to be immoral to us, therefore we refuse to accept these methods.
Furthermore they handicap the legitimate utilization of creations in manifold ways, generating completely unacceptable controllability and often the possibility of observing the user as well. They endanger the utilization of creations by future generations, who might have no access to today's methods of playback.
Additionally, the macroeconomic costs of establishing an unbroken and permanently secure copy protection infrastructure are in absolutely no relation to the macroeconomic benefits. The follow-up costs caused by problems in interoperability of playback methods and software further increase these costs.
Free copying and free usage
Restricting copying of digitalized creations is not possible in any reasonable ways and the comprehensive enforceability of prohibitions in private areas of life has to be considered a failure. Therefore the opportunities through common availability of creations should be recognized and utilised. We are convinced, that the non-commercial reproduction and utilization of creations should be considered natural and that the interests of creators, despite contrary statements of specific interest groups, are not negatively affected.
The existence of such a link could not be proven conclusively in the past. In fact there exist a multitude of innovative business concepts, which can purposely use common availability as an advantage and make creators more independent of existing market structures.
Hence, we are not just calling for legalization but explicit encouragement of copying, providing access to, storing and using creations to improve common availability of information, knowledge and culture, for this is an essential prerequisite for social, technological and economical advancement of our society.
Encouragement of culture
We consider it our responsibility to promote the generation of creations, especially in respect of the cultural diversity. Positive effects of the changes demanded by us should be used to their full potential. Possible, but not expected, negative side effects have to be reduced as much as possible, if they occur.
Balancing of the demands of the creators and the public
We completely acknowledge the creator's personal rights regarding their creations. The current regulations of exploitation rights do not meet the requirements for a fair trade-off between the economic interests of the creator and the public interest of access to knowledge an culture. Commonly a considerable amount of the public repertoire of creations is used during the creation of new creations. Putting this creation back into public domain is not only justifiable, but essential for the sustainability of human creation capabilities.
Therefore it is necessary to create general conditions that allow for fair recirculation into public domain. I.e. this includes reducing duration of claims on proprietary creations drastically below time limits specified under the TRIPS-agreement.
Equal legal status for software
We reject a special status of software in copyright law, as long as it is not caused in technology (e.g. for maintaining interoperability). This includes especially the rejection of privileges that exceed regulations for other kinds of works, e.g. the limitation of use and reproduction of software
Privacy and data protection
Protection of privacy and data protection guarantee dignity and freedom of men. In the past, the modern free democratic form of society was eked out and defended in peril of countless human lives.
Just in the 20th century Germany underwent two dictatorships. Their terror was essentially governed by the lack of respect for individual humans and ubiquitous surveillance. However, dictators of all ages did not even dare to dream of today's technological instruments. Currently a monitored society is emerging just because it is technologically possible and it equally serves interests of economy and state. The pirate party is going to take this surveillance on resolutely. No matter how convincingly established every single step on the way to a surveillance state might be, as Europeans we know from experience where this route leads to. By no means do we want to go there.
The right to privacy is an indispensable foundation of a democratic society. Freedom of expression and the right to personal development cannot be realized without it.
Processes and methods that the state can use against its citizens must be subject to the continued evaluation and detailed audit by the elected representatives. If government monitors citizens that are not suspected of a crime then this is a fundamentally unacceptable violation of the citizens right to privacy. Each citizen must be guaranteed the right to anonymity that is contained in our constitution. Passing personal data from the state to private business shall not happen under any circumstances.
The right to postal privacy shall be extended to a generalized right to communication privacy. Access to communication means or the monitoring of a citizens communication by the government shall be allowed only in the case of a confirmed suspicion that this citizen will commit a crime. In all other cases the government shall assume the innocence of its citizens and leave them in peace. The right to communication privacy must be afforded a strong legal protection since governments have frequently shown that they cannot be trusted with sensitive information.
Data retention of communications data, especially without prior suspicion, contradicts not only the presumption of innocence , but also all principles of a free democratic society. The prevailing control craze poses a more serious threat to our society than international terrorism and creates a climate of distrust and fear. Widespread video surveillance of public space, questionable dragnets, centralized databases with unproven suspicions are methods which we reject.
Informational self determination
The right of the individual to determine the use of his personal data must be strengthened. To this end especially the data protection officers must be able to act completely independently. New methods like scoring make it necessary to not only be able to check any personal data but also the use of all data that could be consulted to judge a person. Each citizen should have an enforcable right at no charge against the operators of central databases to stored information, and where appropriate to correction, blocking or removal of their personal data.
Acquisition and use of biometric data and genetic tests require, because of their high potential for abuse, an especially critical assessment and audit by an independent body. The building of central databases of such data must not be performed. In general the provisions to protect personal data have to take into account more strongly the specific characteristics of digital data as e.g. possible longevity or distribution that is hard to control. Especially since the Pirate Party promotes a stronger freedom of information, culture and knowledge, they demand data economy, data avoidance and independent audit of personal data that are used for economic or public service purposes and as such are suitable to unduly curb the freedom and informational self determination of the citizen.
Under the change from an industrial age to an informational age the worldwide patent rules are partially evolving from a stimulation of into an obstacle to innovation. Shaping the future by traditional means does not embrace the fundamental transformation of the world and it poses a big threat to tomorrows society e.g. patenting findings of genetics and biotechnology and in the field of software patents. Basically we want to achieve more freedom on the market without hindering limitations of current patent practice. We call for a reform of the patent system or a reasonable substitution. By no means may it be complemented with rules inimical to innovation.
Cutback of private monopolies and opening of markets
Generally, the declared goal of our party is the opening of markets and cutback of monopolies. As governmentally guaranteed, private sector monopolies patents are an artificial constraint of common welfare, which needs constant justification and revision.
From a general point of view patenting of industrial goods might have been a (neither provable nor disprovable) track record in the past. Though, in the postindustrious and globalized society the social and economical conditions of inventing have changed fundamentally. Furthermore international competition increasingly leads to unintended use of the patent system, often without any recognizable compensation to society. Hence, we want to stop increasing misuse of patents. Patents of trivia or even blocking of progress through patents shall be stopped by all means.
This applies as well and in particular to the area of pharmaceutical industries. High cash requirements and monopoly alike structures of this market require a reorganisation to reasonably deploy corporate ressources, instead of wasting them through blockades or to the advantage of individual beings. In addition patents on pharmaceuticals have highly objectionable ethical implications.
Patents in the information society
Economic success in the information society is decreasingly dependent on technical innovations, but rather on knowledge, information and its development.
The desire to regulate these factors also with patent laws is diametrically opposite to our demand for freedom of knowledge and human culture.
We unanimously reject patents on life and genes, on business ideas and also on software, since they have unreasonable and irresponsible consequences, since they stifle the development of the knowledge society, since they privatise common goods without anything in return and without need, and since they do not posess any innovation potential in the original sense. The good development of small and medium-sized IT businesses in all of Europe has shown for example that patents are completely unnecessary in the software sector.
Transparency in government
In todays society one can observe a rapid development. More and more data are being collected and increasingly linked together. Linked data however become knowledge and knowledge in turn means power. If the access to knowledge is restricted to a small circle of beneficiaries then it comes inevitably down to the emergence of power structures, favoring few persons, organizations or organs of the state and eventually compromising the democratic process of a liberal society. This process namely bases upon a preferably broad participation of citizens at creation and control of social procedures and is therefore inconsistent with the advance in information that a few are trying to secure on the costs of the general public. Insight into the work of administration and politics is therefore a fundamental civil right and has to be granted, protected and enforced for the good of the liberal order.
The current situation in Germany is governed by different rules on different levels and in different domains of governmental action. Few of the "principle of secrecy" has been changed in favor of a "principle of publicity", although this distinguishes the position of points for a modern society in the 21th century, also regarding the far-reaching possibilities of new media. Administration and politics have to finally accept their nature as service provider also in respect of transparency towards citizens. They shall fundamentally gear towards providing efficient and comfortable information access at low charge for citizens.
In particular for rating policy-makers it is indispensable to make the basics of political decisions transparent. Negative examples of this are the concealment of the road charge treaty from the sovereign and its elected representatives, as well as the undemocratic adoption of voting machines which are capable of damaging the primary element of a democracy, the election.
On this note the pirate party wants to work towards transparency of all state processes and therefore calls for:
Considering immense possibilities, which result from rapid development and spreading of new media, there exist different starting points which allow for these fundamental calls. Public authorities shall enforce the use of free software, establish automated publishment of adequate documents and extend cost-effective and effortless digital access in general.
The pirate party believes devoutly that renouncing the "principle of secrecy", the management and political concept of a timeworn understanding of state, emphasising the "principle of publicity", which makes mature citizens the center of governmental acting, is an indispensable requirement for a modern knowledge-based society in a free and democratic system.
State money finances a multitude of creative processes which bear copyrighted works as product. Since these works are financed by the public they should also be available to the public for free. Actually, this is rarely the case nowadays.
Open Access in research
Papers from state-financed or state-supported research and education are often published by commercial publishers whose quality assurance is provided by state-paid researchers via peer review. Such publications are not even furnished free-of-charge to libraries of research facilities. The tax-payer puts up threefold (production, quality assurance, use) for the cost of the publication, while commercial publishers reap the profits.
We support the Berlin Declaration of the Open Access Movement and demand the availability of scientific and cultural heritage via the Internet following the principle of Open Access. We consider it the task of the government to enforce this principle at institutions that are financed and supported by the state.
Open Access in public administration
We demand the inclusion of software and other digital goods that are produced with public money into the concept of Open Access. Works created by government bodies or at their request should be provided to the public for unlimited use. The source code of software should be part of this publication.
This provides not only direct benefit to the public, government bodies can profit from any improvements by the public (Open Source principle/Free Software) as well. Further the sustainability of public IT infrastructure is enhanced and the dependence on software companies is reduced.
Communication is the fundamental basis of human society. European history since Enlightenment is closely connected with the fight for freedom of communication. Limited availability of communication promote totalitarian systems, while a wide variety of ways of communication enhance the economy, prosperity, education and freedom in general. Free communication is the basis of every functioning democracy, it is a basic right. The free flow of information is of essential meaning for a free information society. Worldwide internetworking can not only be viewed as a by-product of globalisation. Modern communication networks enter every aspect of human society through technological advances. The understanding of the new millenium is characterized by telecommunication that has penetrated our lives almost completely. As a tool it can multiply the potential of society. Social networks can be constructed both further reaching as well as more closely knit with its help. The advances in technology reduce the cost of communication continuously.
Artificially created monopolies on communication channels hinder this technical progress. Under the pressure of continuous profit increase, the market dominating must defend an outdated infrastructure from further development and threaten to establish new technologies only under the protection of new monopolies. Neither may new monopolies be granted nor may old ones be upheld. No one may be discriminated against through a communication monopoly. The pirate party therefore assumes responsibility for protecting free connectivity and provoking decentralization, in particular by supporting noncommercial projects which act in this spirit.
The electromagnetic spectrum
The electromagnetic spectrum has to be available to a broad, civil, democratic usage. Instead of money, for everyone equal available possibility to use broadband communication and the sum of individual benefit have to be decision criteria .
Surveillance of communicated information destroys the foundation of a working democracy. The telecommunication infrastructure must therefore operate neutrally towards submitted content. Any censorship attempts have to be prevented, the possibility of installing filter systems has to be anticipated actively. Freedom of communication must not be undermined by the Federal Republic of Germany neither in- nor outside of its territory: Censorship attempts by foreign states must not be supported in any form. Initiatives - both of political and technical nature - which try to undermine filtering systems have to be supported within the limits of foreign-policy possibilities.
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