Two weeks ago the Austrian Pirate Party was founded. The party has ambitious plans, and is trying to participate in the upcoming elections in October. Time to have a chat with Florian Hufsky, the captain of the “Austrian Pirates”.
TorrentFreak: When did you come up with the idea to start an Austrian Pirate party?
Florian: When I first heard about the founding of the Swedish Pirate Party I thought “yeah, that’s a nice idea. The industry is running amok and politicians ignore us, so why not found a Pirate Party in Austria?” But founding a party is a rather big step, so I delayed my plans.
TorrentFreak: So what motivated you to start an Austrian Pirate party after all?
Florian: Somewhere around June, new news about the music industry’s sue-em-all campaign appeared: the industry started suing fans who put videos on youtube showing how they dance and sing to popular songs. This was the limit, the music industry showed that it has absolutely no respect for it’s customers. I always was skeptic about the “filesharing is killing music” campaign they did, but this proved it: it’s not about the music. The music industry just wants to sue the hell out of whoever it can. DAMN! Someone gotta stop em. And so we do.
TorrentFreak: So do you want to get everything for free, without paying creators of art?
Florian: No. we want artists to get paid! but the current copyright doesn’t
meet this requirement. Artists get exploited by big media companies, who in turn exploit customers.
TorrentFreak: So the system needs to change?
Florian: Yes, the copyright was introduced to “promote the progress of science and useful arts”, but this point has been completely lost nowadays. It degraded to a mere tool to lock our culture in a few hands (See the gatekeeper reference in courntey love’s article). The balance between the interests of publishers and consumers has been lost. The balance between the need to share and sustain culture (ie: works no longer sold, but which are still copyrighted, or the legal and technical problems libraries have nowadays) and the need to make profit is heavily skewed to one side. If we follow the path we’re on we’ll see the death of culture as we know it.
TorrentFreak: So what are the first steps you’re going to take?
Florian: First of all we’re doing whatever possible to participate in this years national election. In Austria you need 4% of the votes to get seats in parliament. Secondly, we are going to set up a website/forum, probably even an organization to focus on the lobbying work of NGOs in our main topics (copyright, privacy, patents).
The music industry in Austria spends a lot of workforce in lobbying to make people believe filesharing is evil. I think filesharing is the future of the music industry, especially for unknown artists and indie labels. They can reach millions of people without needing to bow to horrible major label contracts. I think that’s the _real_ reason why majo labels want to get rid of filesharing. We need to show artists and customers why the RIAA and its friends really want to abolish filesharing and private copies. I think we need a “pirate bureau” in each country ;)
TorrentFreak: How was the response in Austrian media?
Florian: The media response we got so far is wonderful. We got coverage
on big newspapers, websites, and radio shows.
TorrentFreak: And did you get any response from your political opponents?
Florian: The big parties haven’t reacted so far. They’re too busy driving their own “election
TorrentFreak: How many members do you have at this point?
Florian: Not as much as the Swedes unfortunately. We’ve been officially founded just two weeks ago. We have 50 members so far and 150 people in our forum.
TorrentFreak: Are you planning to participate in the upcoming election? And are there any prerequisites?
Florian: Yes, our target is to participate in the upcoming elections. We need to collect 2600 signatures until October 25th. Unfortunately we only have around 100 so far. The way you have to collect those is quite complicated in Austria: people need to print out a form, take it to their municipal office, sign it in front of an appointee, show their id, then put it in an envelope and send it to us. It’s hell. But we’re working hard to get those signatures. Luckily we can also participate just in parts of austria. we’ve got 9 federal states, each requiring 100 to 500 signatures. It should at least be possible to gather the signatures in some of them.
TorrentFreak: Thanks and good luck.
Florian: You’re welcome
Austrian Pirate Party