Despite wanting to make non-commercial file-sharing legal, that doesn’t mean the Pirate Party UK wants to allow things such as counterfeiting and people profiting from other people’s works without proper permission. These will remain illegal, though the maximum copyright term will fall from it lasting 70 years after the original author dies, to a maximum of 10 years after the work is created. This is done to encourage the creation of new works, and prevent reselling and repackaging of old work for profit.
When it comes to the Pirate Party‘s copyright position the common counter is about fairness. How fair is it for someone’s work to be taken by others and used without payment? How fair is it for people to take advantage of the creations of others? etc. etc.
This talk about fairness is perhaps what frustrates me the most. How on earth did we reach a point where thoughts, ideas, words, sounds, and other intangible things are treated like physical limited goods that ought to be owned?
How can it be fair that use of an idea be artificially restricted to the person that first conceived it to the point of depriving the rest of society of that idea? The only way it can be fair is if that restriction is finely tuned to provide the perfect balance between giving the creator incentive to be creative, while at the same time making sure the creation eventually becomes free for all of society to benefit from.
Copyright terms of 70 years after the death of the creator very clearly are designed to benefit corporate entities that have copyrights signed over to them rather than benefiting the creator or society.
How can if even be fair if copyright terms were just 70 years even if the creator was still alive? Why should anyone deserve to be paid for 70 years after coming up with an idea? When I spend a year working in my job, I get paid for the year. I have to then keep working to keep getting paid. I recognise creative works can often take many years of unpaid work before being finished, and that’s why a fair balance needs to be struck that allows a creative person to get sufficient financial return for their work.
Frankly if a creator of a piece of work can not recoup sufficient earnings for their time working on an idea within 10 years of announcing it – then the chances are it’s not that revolutionary and useful an idea. At which point why does a capitalist society owe them anything?
It’s that fairness, and the desire to rebalance fairness in favour of the rest of society, that is one of the primary reasons why I am an ardent supporter of Pirate Party policies.