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United States Pirate Party

United States Pirate Party


·January 15, 2022


Our name might seem silly at first, but you should remember everyone has been labelled a pirate at some point in the last few decades. Movie studios and recording companies place their propaganda in front of us at every chance they get, they waste your time with warnings on DVDs you’ve legitimately purchased or movies you watch at the cinema. They’ve told us over and over that home taping on to cassettes would kill the radio, that recording a TV show on to the VCR would bring an end to free-to-air TV, or sharing an MP3 music song with a friend will cause the end of musicians’ careers. The list goes on but here’s the important point: at every turn, at every change in technology, the rights-holders always say the same thing: ‘no, we don’t want you doing that’. These rights-holders donate to our major political parties, they’ve lobbied for and changed our laws to protect their profits and their outdated distribution monopolies. They’ve had their hand in writing trade agreements and international law, all in a failing attempt to control how you access your culture online. This is how the Pirate movement began; as a reaction to the corrupt corporate, political, and rent-seeking encroachment on a free and open internet, and our democracy.


As a gainfully employed adult, it is hard to personally justify piracy of entertainment media. Now if this discussion was about open access to science, medical, and technical papers, many of which were funded by tax payer dollars, then you'd have my donor dollars. Otherwise you are championing an issue that is doubtfully on anyone's top 100 problems list.


Just because, as a gainfully employed adult, you can now afford it, doesn't mean it's right; doesn't mean the system isn't in need of fixing. It just means you're now able to ignore the problem.


One justification could be that the percentage of the profit which lands to the original creator is often peanuts.

We have an _enormous_ industry enforcing copyright laws which barely make sense, and imo that industry is parasitic


We often use popular mediums as a stepping stone to help discuss these more important pieces of media, make no mistake, open access to intellectual materials is our goal, alongside entertainment media, to a different degree.


That's you. Not everyone has that. Also think about something:

What's your opportunity cost as a result of trivial replication and propagation being locked behind mechanisms that facilitate the creation of artificial scarcity?


I'm voter in the United States and this is on my top 100 problems list.


> Now if this discussion was about open access to

Yes, that's what piracy enables, if the legislation isn't successful.


What about DRM?


We can't stop here, we also need initiatives to promote open source.


So... you want to get into office based solely on media copyright issues and literally every other issue is "elect us and we'll figure it out!". Very hard to take seriously, good luck.

And yes, your name is silly. You should change it; messaging matters and you start with your left foot forward.


I think we need fewer package deals when it comes to politics. At least in the US, if you feel strongly about a single issue, you currently have to find the party that aligns with that view. But then when you vote for them, you also are voting for a great big basket of crazy that comes along for the ride, in the form of "that party's platform". I personally can't in good conscience vote for either of the Big-2 because of this baggage. It would be great to have candidate that just said "You know what, I'm going to for sure support this one particular issue, and abstain on the rest." I'd be up for that.


There are a lot of legal and historical reasons for the two-party situation in the US. Nobody except the ruling class likes it, but the ruling class really really likes it. There have been a lot of efforts made to change it. This is one of multiple worst strategies I’ve ever seen.


Ok, but I'd like to also have _some_ idea of what I'mn voting for aside from being able to download movies for free and doing away with patents (also ridiculous on its face). I agree with you, but that doesn't make these jokers any more attractive.


> "You know what, I'm going to for sure support this one particular issue, and abstain on the rest."

A better strategy is to trade your vote away on anything that isn't your core issue. You trade with political opponents for their support when the issue you do care about comes up.

Using that technique, even a single representative can have quite some impact, as long as the issue they care about is narrow enough.


Indeed messaging matters. Nowadays all names are like the 'Ministry of Truth' names. If you have a party named X and a bill for Y, in reality it will reflect the opposite of X and Y.

So, the pirate party protects people.


If you really think the other parties have an idea of what to do with "every other issue" you haven't been looking at politics in the past 20 years.


They do, and there is a stark contrast between how Republicans and Democrats handle important issues in the US. You see, Republicans just sell you out. Then the Democrats just sell you out.

We need ranked choice voting and campaign finance reform.


Where did I say that?


Seeing runaway inflation, runaway housing prices, runaway crime...uh, I don't think any party has any idea what they're doing. Why do words on a website matter if reality shows it's not true?


Well that's a lot of hyperbole, but who cares? So the incumbents suck; at least they're relatively predictable. Them being bad doesn't make the Pirate party good.


I've always liked the idea of getting into politics to solve your issue than getting out to let the next one in.


Don't forget scientific knowledge.


I <3 Sci hub


Their foremost goal should be to launch across-the-board primary challenges against all the congress-critters who have either endorsed or voted for IP-maximalist legislation in the past. This is how the Tea Party got its start, and now they rule the GOP. It works.


Your link to check if there is a party in your state does not work, cuts off at new hampshire.

Also, I agree with not being left/right wing but inability or unwillingness to commit to some belief or guiding principles that tells people how your policies might affect issues important to them is very bad. If I have an illegal immigrant family member, will you be hunting them down for deportation, after all they broke the law. Will you allow sharia law as an extension of people's right to practice their faith? will you reform immigration? If so, how? Will you end the visa lottery or amp it up? How about H1B and other skilled worker visas? I have colleagues that will have their entire lives impacted by that. Will you reform police and the military and if so how? Just funding? Will you, as a pirate actually restrict gun ownership, enact balanced reforms or leave things as is?

I am not saying take a position on every issue now but I can't tell it apart from satire when you are not even hinting at what your principles are. Change for the sake if change is something juvenile people whose only goal is to self-aggrandize and give their own lives meaning at any cost. To me, you are actually a bit dangerous because you want to scoop up support fully knowing screaming change like Obama will help a lot. Do you have a sinister motive? No idea, all I know is people like this, college/young kids start small and actually revolt in many other countries, but in the end, either the military or some other power takes control.

I like "piracy" and identify with what you are saying but idealism without principles and leadership is at best folly and at worst dangerous.


Hi, though we are centered on a few topics, within our discord we have a platform committee which is hammering this out over time, though as we are a coalition of diverse individuals, this has not been fast or easy, as we prefer a sizable majority in our party before passing a platform proposal, feel free to join to get a better idea of our ideas outside the core!


I think point 5 - standing for individual rights over corporate rights - should be point one.


Pretty much nobody really cares about these issues. I am aware of the history of Pirate parties in the Nordic countries but you are completely wasting your time with this in the US. You’d get a lot more attention by talking about free speech and social media regulation, but nothing like this will ever be anything but a hobby club.


Maybe, but it is something we all feel is important, and should have at least one group talking about it. For too long have these laws avoided any scrutiny in the public eye through obscurity, intentional or not.


Fwiw, socialists have a derogatory term for prioritizing immaterial political agendas like yours. We call it “library socialism.” Some try to wear the label on their sleeve, thinking it’s cute. Socialists, however, recognize that your agenda can only be realized by confronting the capitalist mode of production, which only enforces copyright and intellectual property law to temporarily mitigate the tendency for the rate of profit to fall. In other words, it is a systemic component of capitalism beyond a certain stage of development, and it cannot simply be opted out of.


Have you considered running for office with one of the major parties? Its not very crowded in the house. You’ll have better luck there


My understanding is that when pirate parties actually got some amount of power (by getting into the legislature) in other countries, things got weird, by nature of them having to establish policy positions on lots of stuff other than IP law. Like suddenly you need a position on green energy and foreign interventions and public teacher salaries and zoning and all the other things a regular party is gonna have to vote on. And this conflicted with how they got popularity and power, which was by being largely single issue.


The main means for a third party to win seats in the US would be if they went into districts which are effectively uncontested because they're >70% blue or red, so the other major party isn't even running a candidate for you to split the vote with.

Then the winning platform in that district would be the one where you're mostly aligned with the party currently occupying that seat but differ on the pirate issues.

So you'd end up with a blue pirate party and a red pirate party based on which district they're running in. They would work with each other on pirate issues, but they'd generally caucus with different major parties on a per-district basis.

It might also help to prioritize getting range voting or STAR voting so this would stop being necessary.


There are parts of the US that don't use first past the post voting. NYC is one prominent example that uses ranked choice. Many of these alternative voting systems make it easier for a candidate that is not part of the main two parties to get elected.

Also even if this party does not have success, just by running they can change the other candidates policies


As long as there are single-member districts it's basically impossible for a third party to gain a large representation. I'm sure that's the main reason for the US and UK huge polarity in politics.

I quite like the German model:

> Every elector has two votes: a constituency vote (first vote) and a party list vote (second vote). Based solely on the first votes, 299 members are elected in single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting. The second votes are used to produce a proportional number of seats for parties, first in the states, and then on the federal level.

(from wikipedia)


Winner take all elections ( single person wins per constituency) is still fundamentally flawed, because it disenfranchises too many people. Even with ranked choice, there will be "losers" who didn't vote for the winner, and nobody represents them and their choices and wishes. Proportional representation deals with this.


> NYC is one prominent example that uses ranked choice.

Only implemented recently iirc.


> And this conflicted with how they got popularity and power, which was by being largely single issue

In Czechia (where a pirate party is currently a part of the government) it was IMHO quite the reverse - the Czech Pirate Party mostly gained popularity by accenting ordinary center-liberal political themes.


... and put the ideas about IP reform on the back burner, to my dismay.


It's hard to gain too much insight from Wikipedia, but it looks like it fills a niche that was empty.

The Pirate Party of Canada used to be quite active on r/CanadaPolitics. Once they fleshed out their platform they ended up overlapping heavily with the NDP and Greens (particularly the Greens).

I think many Pirate Parties have fallen into similar traps when they fleshed out their platform.


> It's hard to gain too much insight from Wikipedia, but it looks like it fills a niche that was empty.

Yes, pretty much. There are Greens in Czechia but they are more left-progressive (compared to center-liberal pirates) and they are unacceptable for many because of their anti-nuclear position.


> Do you have a position on abortion, gun control, or gay marriage?

How about the radical position of letting each state decide for itself? They could even have the party in each state decide its own position, rather than enforcing a one-size-fits-all policy centrally.

Of course it's nice to think that there is one "right" answer to all those questions, and that the world would be better if we could just use the law to force other people to go along with what we want, but I think recent history has shown that just makes politics more dysfunctional and leaves everyone unhappy.


> How about the radical position of letting each state decide for itself?

The current state of affairs is that the constitution does not allow the federal government, or the states, to prohibit abortion, guns, or gay marriage. So the status quo is that this is up to the individual. Leaving it up to the states would be a regression.



Now you're making the argument against "leave it up to the states."

Laboratories of democracy work great when different states have different characteristics or preferences. It makes no sense to have a federal minimum wage because a living wage is a vastly different amount of money between New York City and El Paso, Texas. Maybe people in Massachusetts prefer to have high taxes and a lot of government services and people in New Hampshire the opposite.

But if something is a right, it's a right everywhere.


> has their taxes increased to reduce the taxes paid by a gay couple.

Are you serious? By this reasoning, previously the gay couple was experiencing higher taxes to reduce the taxes of straight couples.


I’d rather fight than just accept equality for gay people ends at state lines.

If we’d left things to states, Jim Crow would’ve stayed on the books for decades longer, and some states would still not have gay marriage.


> I’d rather fight than just accept equality for gay people ends at state lines.

Why stop there, though? Should the US invade countries that have worse rights for gay people, in order to "liberate" them? Both states and countries are (in some sense) just lines on a map, and ultimately you are using the threat of force if you are imposing a set of rules on people, whether you use an army to do so or not.


Nah. Dividing lines at nation states does have some value.

That said, supporting the fight for gay rights in other countries? Sure. There's a lot of daylight between "do nothing" and "invade with army."


The beauty of this solution is that you are free to fight in other states for legislation. Instead of it being imposed to the states by the federal government even though the local population might not agree.


I would like to know why this is down voted.


Because as long as traveling between states is free each state has to deal with the consequences of its neighbors. Why have a federal government if it’s not going to impose some kind of union that binds all the states together?


I wouldn't say that travelling between Florida and Hawaii is "free", and moving your house and job across the country is not something that people regularly do. Conversely, many people choose to immigrate to the US, or emigrate from it, so although that is more difficult, it is only a difference of degree and not of kind. And of course even nations have to deal with the consequences of policies in nearby countries (or even countries the other side of the world).

As for the point of having a federal government, I could turn the question around and ask what is the point of having state governments when you could just decide everything centrally. You say "some kind of union", but I think you mean "exactly the sort of union that imposes the particular restrictions on states that I think is important". It's very much an open question what the "correct" set of restrictions should be, and that list has changed over the course of US history, and has different choices in different countries.


Probably because civil liberties shouldn't end at state lines.


If only we could all agree what counts as a civil liberty (and who is entitled to them).


But ok to end at international lines?

May be a global secular government with uniform civil laws for all is the answer?


Not sure I agree with the abolition of patents. If it takes you a decade or more to invent something and then someone else can immediately copy and sell it, what incentive do you have to do all that work?

I do agree that patents/copyright need reform and a reduced patent period could be beneficial, but I think complete abolition would backfire.


Maybe you should start to count how many actual inventors own their patents...and compare that to the number of trivial patents, design patents, and patents that have never been invented and just have been reserved for future use by mega corporations.

Then take a look at companies like Oracle that did not invent anything for the last 20 years, but are still sueing the whole software industry for things that are common practices even taught in University classes. An API shall be patentable? Seriously?

While I am still pro patents I also have to say that patent offices are the wrong judges (speaking of them as part of the judicative branch) on what is patentable and what is not.

Why did Microsoft got most of their financial income from Google's Android over the last decades? (before Azure took off) was the licensing income stream for the mp3 codec that wasn't actually invented by them; it was invented by the Fraunhofer Institute in the 80s.

It's ridiculous that the patent system is so messed up that they always favor not the actual inventors.


Look at how much open source has revolutionized the software industry. It teaches us a few lessons. First, that people invent for the joy of it regardless. And second, that innovation happens faster when unencumbered.

Another good example is penicillin. Imagine where we would be with bacterial infections today without it entering the public domain from day 1.

I understand the desire to own your work, and immediately arriving at the conclusion that patents are morally or ethically right, but fundamentally when you release some piece of information into the world, it is for all practical purposes no longer yours. Patents are an artificial protection for something that simply isn't true in practice, and it doesn't appear that it increases innovation at all, if your focus is the practical side of things.


> First, that people invent for the joy of it regardless.

Some things sure, but I don't see how this would work for drugs that cost tens of millions of dollars to develop and run through trials.


First of all, plenty of drug research and patents are actually done in order to develop variants that avoid other patents. Patents in the drug industry are mostly a parasite producing more patents.

Secondly, plenty of research is publicly funded.

The major philosophical error people make when asking why would people create anything in the absence of IP laws is believing that just because they created/invented something, they are owed something in return. Plenty of times, IP gets created, but there is no one to sell licensees to because no one wants it.

The major historical error is believing forgetting that people created and invented stuff just fine before IP laws existed.


Well, here's a thought. Maybe they cost so much because everyone has to start from scratch because they're not allowed to leverage existing tech and research because of patents.


You're forgetting about the Overton window.

If what you really want is e.g. abolition of software patents, what you want to do is to start off demanding abolition of all patents and then compromise at abolition of software patents. That's what the other side does.


Most of the time major inventions are produced by communities, not individuals.


They are also intended to encourage sharing of information. Without patent protection, someone who spends 10 years to make a profitable product may just keep all of the information about it a trade secret.


Even if you want patents to exist (which i don't believe in), but lets say for whatever reason they are necessary. there is no reason the government should run this program. They are a monopoly and should not get a say in how someones intellectual “property” is protected. Plenty of work left in protecting real property and rights. Private companies and individuals can worry about this if it is worth their time.


Patents, just like capitalism, aren't bad by themselves, but if left in the hands of powerful people/entities who can abuse and extend them at will for profits they become dangerous and cancerous, just like capitalism. The solution is probably in some form of strict control that prevents their abuse; very hard to realize if those abusing patents are the same people who dictate rules, or very close to them.


I don't think it's a bad idea to say "We are neither left nor right", since "left" and "right" are not very clearly defined concepts, and most people have chosen their side on that dimension already .

A better question for the FAQ would be: Are you pro-democracy, or pro-autocracy?

How do you plan to promote your choice of democracy, or autocracy, in practice?


This should be the last thought. People should be taught tolerance and be patient about ideas and thoughts that are against yours. The world is not black and white and this left and right thought process which is extremely binary is hurting us all in the long run.

Just look at how politicians went about things in the olden times. Even when they disagreed on things, they were far far better than just raging against each other like they are doing now!


"It should be the last thought" may be acceptable when you're figuring out what you believe in, but surely not when you're running for office or forming a political organization.


I would like to respectfully disagree. There are centre, centre-right and centre-left parties in Europe. If am not mistaken, Angela Merkel's party is centre-right. But even if it isn't, there are other types of parties than just Left and Right.

Right and Left which are just two sides is way too narrow view of the world.


To answer your question, the United States Pirate Party is pro-democracy, like all pirate parties. We believe a more representative democracy would be beneficial for all third parties in the US, and support various electoral reform policies to further that goal. We also believe in the longer term that liquid democracy[0] is the way forward. I do agree that this could be communicated more clearly on our site, thanks for pointing it out.



That is a great stance. Democracy can be improved. And should. But seems like not everybody agrees on that, therefore it is a political issue.

If there is no democracy then autocrats decide who can copy what songs, if any, from the internet. What you can read on the internet. If there is an internet. But if there is democracy then people can decide all that by voting.

If there is no democracy there will be no Pirate Parties, unless for some reason that benefits the unelected people in power. Hey I'm glad that there is US Pirate Party now. But is there one also in China and Russia? Why not?


> A better question for the FAQ would be: Are you pro-democracy, or pro-autocracy?

Or technocracy?


Thats just a form of autocracy


Why would copyright last for 14 years, but then patents wouldn't exist? It makes perfect sense for inventors to have a short monopoly on their creations. Patent law should certainly be reformed so that patents need to be more specific, limited in scope, and so on.


With all of the deadly important issues in the US and the world today these folks have locked their compass on "the legalization of sharing movies, music and other art online"? Is this not satire? Perhaps these "pirates" should watch some illegally downloaded copies of "Don't Look Up." And their wisdom should be so plain to see that we trust them to come up with good decisions later for small details like the world outside of file sharing? "Aye, matey! I'll have me platforme on global warmin' just after I finishe a-pirate-watchin' this last season of 'ye Witcher!' and several other crucial arts, perhaps a-playin' some cracked games in which I'll learn about what's called the economies."

I'm not trying to deny that intellectual property issues can be important, even extremely so. It's argued that Germany's rise was related to a lack of copyright[1], and we can think of patents on medicine and many other areas where copyright is crucial, even foundational. But please...



So what is the inception of ownership?


You mean on what basis do we justify ownership and property? As far as I can see there's no strong intrinsic justification for private property, but rather it's subordinate to other values like justice and well-being. History is filled with various approaches to property, and at least in my point of view I have to consider it as something decided by politics and culture.

Btw that doesn't mean that because you might disagree with your society's approach to property that it's morally defensible to steal, etc.


> With all of the deadly important issues in the US and the world today

Thanks, that was a perfect example of whataboutism. Why do you assume that IPR law is not an "important issue"? It's certainly important wrt. economic development, as you point out that Germany has benefited in the past from having looser IP restrictions. And a stronger economy helps us deal with all kinds of other issues, including climate change.


I'm surprised there doesn't seem to be a more concrete position on things like gerrymandering and alternatives to FPtP voting schemes. Given the party's core value of government openness and greater citizen voice in government, it seems very odd to have only vagaries.


This is gonna sound super random but one thing you can add to the political positions is prison reform(for profit, quotas, in jail cus can't post bail for non violent crimes) and fair sentencing.

It's related cus pirates are subject to unfair penalties and if jail, our jails are pure evil


Yes, that's on our docket to add to the platform because many of us feel strongly on the topic. Thanks for bringing it up, you should join our platform comittee on the Discord![0]



I did a little work on Pirate Party politics in the UK about 10 years ago. One (unfortunately unsuccessful) approach we tried was to get Pirates to write short manifestos about what Pirate Politics really were.

Here is one: (that one is mine)


> Currently pharmaceutical companies spend only 15% of their revenue on new drug research. The remaining 85% is spent on activities such as marketing and profit taking.

[Citation needed]

I'd like to see a budget breakdown of what these companies spend on research, manufacturing, marketing, etc.

At a glance, from looking at CBO pages, it looks like average R&D spend is actually more like in the 18-20% range, and that this isn't unusual for industries, which makes sense since they have other costs beyond R&D.


Gee. How about a license to be able to live? Isn't that where it is at?


What's their stance on web3? Cuz I'm against it.