Is It Time To Form A 'Rogue' Party Instead Of A 'Pirate' Party?

from the what's-rogue? dept

We’ve discussed a few times how important language choices are in the debate over copyright — something that entire books have been written about. For years, the key term was always around “piracy.” It was all about stopping pirates and dealing with piracy. But, some have noticed a gradual shift in the language, away from piracy. In fact, much of the debate around COICA has focused on “rogue” sites rather than “pirate” sites. Copycense and Glyn Moody recently had an interesting Twitter discussion on the topic, as seen below:


Part of the discussion centers around whether or not this allows for greater conflation of copyright infringement with other types of infringement, such as patents and trademark/counterfeiting. That certainly sounds reasonable to me, though, I also wonder if part of it is the realization that condemning people as “pirates” just isn’t effective any more. Part of it is that people have realized how ridiculous it is to compare non-commercial, personal file sharing to “piracy,” and part of it may be the overall embrace by some of the term (e.g., “The Pirate Party”). Perhaps, for all the attempts to use the negative word “piracy” as part of the failed education campaign aspect, the industry is realizing it’s time to move on.

Of course “rogue sites” seems like an odd choice as well. Is it really accurate or appropriate? The definition of “rogue sites,” seems to depend very much on who’s talking. I guess that’s part of the beauty of it. It allows folks in the entertainment industry, for example, to label any site they don’t like, or which represents a challenge to them, business model-wise, as being “rogue.” It’s “rogue” as in that it doesn’t fit with the way the industry wants to do business.

And, yet, historically, if we look at some of the most innovative businesses in the world, they started off as being “rogue,” as in going in a different direction and going “off-the-farm” with some crazy ideas. For example, a little industry known as “the movie industry,” started out in very much this manner, running out to Hollywood where it could grow without having to deal with Edison and his aggressive patent enforcement attempts. Perhaps “rogue” isn’t such a bad thing.. and maybe we should be embracing rogue sites and services, in that they seem to be driving innovation forward in useful ways.

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Comments on “Is It Time To Form A 'Rogue' Party Instead Of A 'Pirate' Party?”

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37 Comments
Zangetsusays:

Perhaps this name?

Why not a “Common Sense Party”? Their platform could be:

  • a political party for the people, not the corporations
  • a political party that would shift the cost of copyright enforcement from the government to the copyright holders
  • a political party that understand that just because there is a patent on a drug does not mean that it should cost a lot
  • a political party that understands that Patent reform is about patenting *new* things, not items found in nature (genes) or digital versions of physical items
  • a political party that understands transparency in government means you need to share more information and not penalize whistle blowers for doing what you asked them to do
  • a political party that understands the word “secular” and how it should be applied
  • a political party that understands that the federal budget would be a lot closer to being balanced if the special interest projects were removed
  • a political party that understands if the government is shut down then they shouldn’t be paid either.

But, then again, I’m not sure the public is ready for such a radical choice.

What's in a name?

Of course, the choice of a name is important – especially when running for office. And of course again, that choice is free.

But also consider that “Pirate Party” is by now a little more than a funny idea for a name. After the first, Piratpartiet, was founded in Sweden on Jan. 1 2006, sister parties have been created in over 40 countries, mostly in Europe, but reaching as far as Canada, USA, Mexico, Argentina on one side and Australia and NZ on the other.

The Swedish Pirates won one seat (should be two now..) in the European Parliament in 2009. European Pirates have run in many elections since then, and won seats in local parliaments in Germany, Switzerland, and Czech Republic.

The Pirate Parties International (PPI) is an association of many national or regional Pirate Parties, and requires members to have the word “Pirate” in their name. At their last conference in Friedrichshafen some weeks ago, the pirates of Canada, Maroc, Slovenia, and New Zealand were voted upon and welcomed as new members.

So, even as Pirates are critical on various “intellectual property” issues, the name “Pirate Party” has become a kind of international brand.

Re: How about the Cheapskate or freeloader party?

Or if you want to make it marginally nicer, call it the “free rider” party. After wading through all of the smoke and fog, it’s clear that not paying is the main point of it all.

Weird. While I’m sure some people do make that argument, we’ve rarely seen that to be the point of the issues raised here by anyone at all. In fact, we keep seeing that people are more than happy to pay when they realize they’re supporting artists they like directly.

It seems like your claim is pure FUD.

Killer_Tofusays:

The problem with rebranding

One thing that the politicians and MAFIAA miss completely is that it doesn’t matter what term they use. Over time that term will be used lightly and not in a bad way. They will continue to use it in an attempt to be derogatory, but it will fail to be so. Why? Because very few people see file sharing as a bad thing. Well over half of our own country here either view it as fine, or not a bad thing (even if they don’t participate). As long as the public opinion is against what these special interests want, they can call it whatever they want but they can’t change the people’s opinion.

Youtube alone has helped call plenty of attention to how stupid copyright laws are. In plenty a video where either the audio was removed or the entire video, you can see people commenting how copyright just ruins things. Public opinion is against them, and anything they want to call file sharing is already on the path to the same fate as “pirating”. It just isn’t a bad thing.

Re: The problem with rebranding

File sharing is just a fact of life. Or, better: sharing of information. People talk, communicate. They lend books to each other. (Interestingly, no longer possible with e-books.) Sharing is caring.

I think, the bottom question in the “Pirates” affair is: how does an older world (including much of the media industry) deal with the fact that information sharing is easier than ever, and doesn’t need intermediaries like MAFIAA and associates? Or: how do we deal with them?

Killer_Tofusays:

Re: Re: The problem with rebranding

Very good questions. My best path to dealing with them so far is write my congress critters to not pass their stupid legislation while at the same time buy nothing they control. If they won’t adapt then I will do all I can to ensure that they are removed from any position that can affect any new tech.

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