Dean Garfield, director of MPAA’s anti-piracy department, was interviewed by ZDNet recently. When he was asked whether the Pirate Party’s attempts to battle organizations like the MPAA through democratic means is legitimate, he responded: “There’s nothing about what the Pirate Bay does or what the Pirate Party does that is legitimate. There’s nothing philosophically principled about it. They steal copyright content and accept advertising dollars based on taking other people’s work. There’s nothing noble about it.”
Calling a political party illegitimate and their members thieves is a pretty bold statement for an organization who’s feeding politicians thousands of dollars to support their cause. I doubt that Garfield even read their election manifesto, if he did, he would know that the party has nothing to do with stealing copyright.
“This can only be seen as MPAA calling democracy illegitimate. We are a registered political party finishing in the top ten in a parliamentary democracy,” says Rick Falkvinge, leader of the Swedish Pirate Party in a response to TorrentFreak. “That these people claim it would somehow be illegitimate to change laws through a parliamentary process shows just how corrupt to the core they are.”
Falkvinge continues: “On the other hand, I think the statement may be partly out of fear. There’s one thing that beats all their lawyers, war chests and monopolies. Just one. That one thing is votes in a democratic election, and that’s what we have and they don’t. These claims are so far out they don’t even reflect sunlight. Unfortunately, that seems to be true for most statements from the Music And Film Industry Associations of America, but we’re also seeing the oldskool politicians slowly starting to understand our counterpoints. It’s going to be an interesting couple of next years.”
It won’t be easy for the MPAA and other anti-piracy organizations to take on the Pirate Parties, especially not with such a clueless statement. Europe’s Pirate Parties are on course with their pan-European electoral assault for the 2009 European Elections. To quote Rick Falkvinge: “There is a far better than average chance that this is becoming the next global political movement, and I’m going to claim it already is the next big political movement.”