martinbudden wrote:That's my underlying question: should we leave Berne, or should we renegotiate? The advantage of leaving is that we can change things in the UK more quickly. The advantage of renegotiating is we bring the advantages of a renegotiated Berne to all signatories.
There is a third alternative: we could just change UK law without leaving or renegotiating Berne, and then argue the case in the courts.
The point of my original posting was not to point out that pirate party policy was not in compliance with Berne (which as you say is obvious), but to ask what is the policy for dealing with that conflict. Should the pirate policy document make an explicit reference to Berne or not?
Renegotiation of Berne implies that other countries would want to renegotiate Berne. Unless the Pirate Party also made a breakthrough in lots of other countries, or the whole world's politics undergo a massive common shift, then renegotiation is not a viable option. Even talk about the Pirate Party being successful in other countries understates the scale of the problem: plenty of Berne signatory countries aren't democracies.
Berne enforcement is governed under the WTO. Unilaterally changing UK law whilst still being a signatory to Berne would invite other governments to rain down economic penalties on the UK. The UK would have a difficult time repositioning its trade with other countries anyway, but there is no benefit in deliberately seeking to provoke international disputes by remaining a signatory to Berne whilst flagrantly violating it.
The likeliest and best option is not for the UK to go solo, but that PP parties gradually alter the debate within Europe and seek an EU-wide change in copyright law. In that scenario, the UK forms a bloc with other EU countries that want to reform copyright. The EU is not powerful enough, on its own, to impose its will on the rest of the world, and no sane person wants an all-out trade war between the EU and other rich and powerful countries like the US, Japan and China. However, it may be possible to find some kind of accommodation where the rules applied to copyright within the EU are different to the conventions that dominate outside of the EU. This means making allowance for the fact that even the whole EU, working as a combined force, cannot simply tell nations like the US that that are going to ignore their copyrights without expecting serious reprisals. A less confrontational approach would be to continue to recognize copyrights of the US and other nations within the EU, but to allow market forces to put the copyrighted products of those nations at a significant competitive disadvantage (in short, they would cost more, so would sell less). The financial benefits to the consumer would probably need to be offset by funneling tax into increased state aid to creative industries, effectively bribing larger businesses not to move outside of the EU and bribing smaller businesses to continue to set up within the EU. If this division between the EU and the rest of the world can be made stable and sustainable, then there would be hope for a gradualist approach to reforming copyrights in other nations. In short, if the copyright reform does deliver the expected benefits to our societies (which will take years to become evident) then the copyright-reformed bloc can be extended nation by nation. The trick would be to gradually expand the size of the copyright-reformed bloc, through bilateral negotiations and treaties between the EU and other nations. As the 'club' of copyright-reformed countries grows, this will steadily improve the prospects for a complete renegotiation of, or more probably, the agreement of a worldwide successor to Berne.
One thing to bear in mind is that the USA are likely to be the staunchest opponents of any pirate-style reform of international copyright. As the world's biggest economy, the world's biggest copyright exploiters, and the world's internet chief, the US is going to put up one hell of a fight against copyright reform. The prospects of pirates influencing the political debate within the US are slim - their political system just is not set up to give a voice to anything but the Democrat/Republican 'mainstream'. If the Greens found it hard to change the political agenda in the US, imagine what it will be like for Pirates. There is no point planning for an easy worldwide takeover or replacement for Berne. Any approach to rolling out a new international norm is going to have to create a stable and sustainable pocket of like-minded countries that will also have to find a way to co-exist with the copyright expectations of nations like the US. Success will then be achieved by growing the number in the bloc gradually, whilst simultaneously eroding the influence of the USA. Then the world debate will gradually move to a tipping point where the majority of countries, and the bulk of economic power, is in favour of international copyright reform.