The Pirate Party UK Launches its 2010 Election Manifesto

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After a huge amount of work by our policy groups, policy group leaders, our manifesto co-ordinator, by the web team who built voting software, and most of all by the members of the party who put forward the proposals and voted democratically on every point, I am very proud to announce that our 2010 general election manifesto is now ready.

The UK's DMCA; Clause 17 falls, but at what cost?

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During another intense session in the House of Lords this afternoon a vote was finally held on the controversial Clause 17 of the UK's Digital Economy Bill. This clause would have allowed the Secretary of State to amend the UK's copyright law with a lot less oversight from parliament than usual. The government did not hide the fact that this provision would be used to clamp down on unlicensed file-sharers in various ways as the industry demanded. However, there was a bright side; the clause would have permitted Lord Mandelson (or more likely his successor) to do as he promisedback in October and relax the UK's copyright law by bringing in the 'fair use' exemptions it so desperately needs.

The real problem with clause 17

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There has been much speculation around clause 17 of the Digital Economy Bill, the part that would give the unelected Lord Mandelson powers to rewrite copyright law whenever he chooses, grant powers to others at a whim, or impose duties or fines on anyone who offends him.

The Financial Times are hinting that the government may back down on clause 17, and some commentators are referring to it as a "legislative sacrificial goat" that the government will agree to drop in return for the other parties backing the other controversial (to put it mildly) proposals in the bill, such as ending the legal right to be considered innocencent until proven guilty, and punishing people who are provably innocent for the actions of others who share their wifi connections with or even without their permission.

Music Industry Faces $6 Billion Copyright Infringement Lawsuit

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The music industry is very keen on making people who infringe their copyrights pay exorbitant fines, but what about when they are the copyright infringers? A class action by Canadian musicians accuses them of systematically infringing copyright, with potential damages of $6 billion:

Lord Mandelson asks for unlimited powers

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Lord Mandelson has asked for the most dangerous and far-reaching powers imaginable to fight his doomed battle against copyright infringement. In leaked documents he has asked for the power to amend the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1988) in any way he wants, at any time, with no parliamentary vote.


It goes without saying that giving an unelected official the power to invent laws on a whim is wrong, but it's his reason for wanting this extraordinary power that should give the most cause for concern.

Taylor on creative content on the internet

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Alice Taylor is Channel 4 Television's Commissioning Editor for Education, and a founding member of the Open Rights Group. She's recently written an essay for Creative Scotland -- a government body "tasked with leading the development of the arts, creative and screen industries across Scotland" -- which chimes with what the Pirate Party's been saying:

Music industry steals musician's copyright

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The music industry is always complaining about "copyright theft". Except when they do it, of course...

Which brings me to the case of Edwyn Collins, the Scottish musician whose most famous hit is probably A Girl Like You. He has been barred from uploading his own music to MySpace, because the music industry erroneously say they own the copyright:

Edwyn Collins has been barred from streaming his own song through MySpace. Management for the former Orange Juice frontman have been unable to convince the website that they own the rights to A Girl Like You, despite the fact that they, er, do.

Last day for consultation responses

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When the Pirate Party UK was formally registered, one of the first things we did was ask our members to respond to the government's consultation on P2P file sharing. Since then we've seen a lot of developments, with Lord Mandelson threatening to cut whole families off the net for the actions of just one person, and various lobby groups such as the Featured Artists Coalition coming up with their own, often contradictory statements.

If we don't want these profit-motivated groups to write their own laws, then we need to make our voices heard, and one way to do this iby responding to this consultation document.

Illegal Downloads from!

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You could not make this up. Not even the wildest pirate having the most insane pirate dream would make this up.

Lily Allen, through her website, infringes copyright by offering the music of other artists for free download.

You can read the full story at Michael Masnick's Techdirt blog.

Lily Allen has publicly argued that infringing copyright is wrong because it is the same as stealing. She said downloading pirated music is killing the music industry. Except, it seems, when it helps her music career.

Lily Allen: Broken Records, Broken Laws

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Lily Allen, daughter of the guy who played the corpse in Shallow Grave, possessor of a third nipple and alleged pop icon, has recently grabbed another claim to fame: self-appointed spokesperson for copyright laws. In her new blog, called 'It's Not Alright', Allen recycles familiar arguments that downloading is the same as stealing and it threatens the poorest people working in the music industry. If you believe her, it is just a coincidence that the most vehement critics of downloading are music execs and millionaire superstars like Allen.