In Europe, Pirate Parties have quite a following, especially in Sweden where a political scientist recently described them as a “classic civil right movement”. The U.S. Pirate Party hopes to replicate some of this success, and officially launched in California today, the home of the movie industry.
California, the place where Hollywood stars become Governors. The place where movie pirates, led by William Fox, once fled to in order to escape the licensing fees Thomas Edison demanded for inventing the motion picture camera. More than a century later the tables have turned
Fox is no longer a pirate in the 20th century, but one of the big players in the motion picture industry. Similarly, Hollywood is no longer a hiding place for pirates, but the home of the MPAA. The people who once successfully moved from New York to the wild west in order to escape licensing fees, are now the ones who go after a new branch of pirates – for stealing their work.
Luckily, the U.S. is still a democracy, and the U.S. Pirate Party has now set course to the golden state. In California, the party aims to be recognized by the State Secretary in the months to come. In order to do so, the party has to collect 88,991 signatures within 15 months. A tough challenge, but not impossible according to Glenn Kerbein, chairman of the party.
Indeed, hundreds and thousands of Americans – especially the more tech savvy ones – realize that stricter copyright laws are not the silver bullet that will stop piracy. They believe we have to stand up for Net Neutrality and protect our privacy. However, mobilizing all these people to register as a Pirate is easier said then done.
The goals of the party are clear though. “Frankly, we feel that the RIAA and MPAA’s ruthless campaign of suing their own customers out of their livelihoods must cease immediately. The terrible litigation facing international bodies (ACTA) must see the light of day, and the DMCA must be repealed,” they write.
Previously, the Pirate Party has tried to get recognized in Utah, but they got stuck on 1400 of the 2000 needed signatures. Nothing is impossible though, in Sweden half of all Swedish men under 30 said they would consider voting for the Pirate Party, while the youth chapter received $160,000 in funding from the government. There’s still hope, even though change has already come.