Jake Daynes: Pirate Party of Canada strives for reasonable copyright balance

By Jake Daynes

You may not think we have the most serious name in politics, but the international Pirate party movement that has been making waves has finally landed on Canadian shores. The Pirate Party of Canada began as a loose network of individuals across the country, and has since begun to catch the eyes of the media.

The Pirate party is not advocating for the creation of a freeloading society that can hide behind the veil of the Internet, as some would believe. Instead we strive for a reasonable balance between the creator and consumer, where a creator has the ability to reach a larger audience using new business models with ideals such as Creative Commons and copyleft.

Right now, the Pirate party, which consists of technologists, artists, and a wide range of others, is fighting to safeguard the individual’s right to privacy, increase transparency in government, and to stop more restrictive copyright legislation, which could potentially criminalize 90 percent of Canadians, from being passed.

In 1928, Canada ratified the Berne Convention and set copyright terms to be the life of the author plus 50 years. We ask: who does this benefit? Not the consumer, and certainly not other artists who are prevented from reinventing or remixing the copyrighted materials. The answer is quite simple: it benefits a tiny minority of rights holders whose creative works have commercial value for an extended period of time. Meanwhile, creativity and innovation is being stifled by preventing creative material, which creators and innovators could borrow, from becoming available.

Open and transparent government is also a big issue that’s tied closely to current copyright problems. If we are truly a democracy, then why is it that our elected officials see fit to close their doors during discussions and draft international treaties without public consultation?

If our government is answering the demands of major media corporations and pushing through more restrictive copyright legislation, which could lead to Internet service providers being forced to track a user’s activities on the Net, can it really be said that it is doing its job?

Copyright has turned away from a method of promoting the progress of science and the arts, and has become a weed, intent on choking away our rights, both digital and tangible. Promoted by lobbyist groups such as the Canadian Recording Industry Association, copyright has become a weapon that’s used against the consumer to line the pockets of distribution companies, and gives very little back to the artists.

You can help modernize copyright, you can fight for open government, and you can stand up for your right to privacy.

Jake Daynes is the marketing and public relations director for the Pirate Party of Canada.



ezekiel bones

Sep 1, 2009 at 9:23pm

For crikes sake, this is not the European Union General election.

We have no proportional representation, so, unfortunately, by creating a pirate party, you are only further marginalizing left wing politics in Canada.

Please, for the love of g-d, the internet, the arts, mary-jane and all that is holy, please, join the ndp and help us take over the government.

Please. We need the fresh faces and the fresh ideas.

The NDP is electable - but we need the ideas of the digital activists, the artists, the radical leftists, the anarchists, the zinesters, scenesters, femininjas, rock poets, street-corner philosophers, wikipedians, coders, gamers, and the beautiful souls , we need them (us) to reinvigorate the party.

I fully support a proper, absolute, percentage based proportional representation electoral system - however the powers of the status quo will not change the system against their own interests.

The only way we can change the system is to win it by their rules.

I know it will be difficult, and scary, and it will make us question ourselves, but we have the duty to take action - not just for this society, but for ourselves and our highest intentions.

We can take over, we simply need to have the courage to believe in ourselves, and to believe in our ability to beat any game, no matter how difficult, no matter how much the odds are stacked in favour of the computer.

Starting a new party, either federally or provincially, with no money and a single issue is a losing strategy. I do not quibble with your ideals, in fact, I embrace them.

For that reason, I wish to reason with the people of the green party, the pirate party, the mj party, the rhino party, the communist party, the work less party - with any progressive party that has been pigeon-holed with "single-issue" status - please, abandon a losing strategy.

If you want to raise the profile of your issue - the NDP can be your vehicle.

"But you're not saying enough about our issue now"

you might protest.

Well, that may well be true, but the reason is, with you on the outside, instead of inside, telling the party what to do, the party goes a different direction.

The people make the party..

We can help each other remake the party.

Together we can build a progressive country.

Together we can take back our province, and the ideals that matter to us will no longer be mere words about starving children tossed out to justify cuts to culture and tax breaks for banks.

Our words, our ideals, our deep seated desires for social evolution can be realized.

Please, Pirate Party, help take over the NDP. Hijack us on the open seas of democracy.


Sep 1, 2009 at 9:47pm

"remixing", "reinventing", "borrow" ... all terms that those who can't create their own art, or ideas, are happy to use as cover for living off the backs of the truly creative.

Daryl Christensen

Sep 2, 2009 at 1:02am

It was pablo picasso that said good artists borrow and that great artists steal.

One of the biggest players in the war copryright holding companies have fought against its fans is Disney. Walt Disney began his career with a parody of a lesser film Steamboat Willie Jr, and then his company made itself an empire by borrowing other people's stories. Snow White (1937), Fantasia (1940), Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), Bambi (1942), Song of the South (1946), Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Robin Hood (1952), Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955) 1955), Mulan (1998), Sleeping Beauty (1959), 101 Dalmatians (1961), The Sword in the Stone (1963), and The Jungle Book (1967)—not to mention a recent example that we should perhaps quickly forget, Treasure Planet (2003). In all of these cases, Disney (or Disney, Inc.) ripped creativity from the culture around him, mixed that creativity with his own extraordinary talent, and then burned that mix into the soul of his culture. Rip, mix, and burn.

This is something Disney prevents other people and businesses from doing today. But in 1928, the culture that Disney was free to draw upon was relatively fresh. The public domain in 1928 was not very old and was therefore quite vibrant. The average term of copyright was just around thirty years—for that minority of creative work that was in fact copyrighted.

This is the ways things always were—until quite recently. For most of history, the public domain was just over the horizon. From 1790 until 1978, the average copyright term was never more than thirty-two years, meaning that most culture just a generation and a half old was free for anyone to build upon without the permission of anyone else. Today’s equivalent would be for creative work from the 1960s and 1970s to now be free for the next Walt Disney to build upon without permission. Yet today, the public domain is presumptive only for content from before the Great Depression.


Sep 2, 2009 at 7:41am

"Join the NDP"

As a member of the pirate party I have to say, sorry, but the NDP has too many opinions and goals that I don't agree with. Same goes with all the others.

Multi-issue parties are incapable of representing constituents in individual ridings, which is what first-past-the-post is all about. The pirate party is at least open minded enough to accept people with differing philosophies (NDPers, Liberals, Conseratives), unite them behind a few defined issues, and let them follow their hearts on everything else.


Sep 2, 2009 at 8:03am

Everything you see today is the result of building on the works of those who have gone before. The wheel hasn't been reinvented, rather improved upon. As Isaac Newton said " If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants"

Rob Britton

Sep 2, 2009 at 8:52am

@ezekiel bones: The Pirate Party is not a left-wing party. While we will probably attract more members from the left than the right, we do not have a specific left-right status. Some of our members are libertarian-leaning moderates who wouldn't touch the NDP with a 10-foot pole.
My rationale for joining the Pirate Party is because the other parties do not address the same issues in a way that I agree with, or in the case that they do (as you say the NDP does) they come with all sorts of other baggage that I do not want to vote for.


Sep 2, 2009 at 11:20am

Being a descendent of pirates from my mother's French side AND my father's Scots family I've been patiently preparing for the ascendency of a pirate juggernaut to solve all the world's ills......or plunder the crown jewels.....depending on how we roll on that particular day. Real pirates are like the salt in the sea.....we're eternal, we cum in waves and we are corrosive to the established order.

Be honest now....how has the "established order" been performing lately or always? Anyone noticed any callous disregard for human rights, the environment or personal liberty?


Sep 2, 2009 at 12:13pm

Wait, your goal is a Canada in which the "creator has the ability to reach a larger audience using new business models with ideals such as Creative Commons and copyleft"? Because then, uh, you're done. Go home. They have that ability today and will still have it next year. Anyone can create anything and licence it in the manner they wish. Want to hire scriptwriters, actors, directors, video editors, slap a five-year copyright term on your creation, allow anyone to remix it from day one, and then allow everyone to copy it starting five years out? No problem! Creative Commons licensing is your friend. We're already there. No need for you, Pirate Party.


Sep 2, 2009 at 4:25pm

Jack daynes .. this article is pure win. @ezekiel bones NDP are for unions. Many of which are lobbying for anti-consumer protections. I will never associate with the NDP. Though I admit Charlie Angus is the creme of the crop.

Register for the pirate party at pirateparty.ca dont forget to mail in your form!


Sep 2, 2009 at 4:42pm

I should edit more carefully. 'Jake' Daynes.. My apologies