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Pirate Manifesto

The socalled Pirate Manifesto was a proposal created by Pirate Party International to set down the goals of the pirate parties in the world. From the approved text with amendments three versions emerged that the pirate parties could choose from. The pirate manifesto was drafted by Carlos Ayala and national pirate parties commented on it. Reinier B. Bakels from Netherlands opposed it, pointing out the easily exploitable argumentation with human rights of the right holders; he challenged the document with his own draft PPI Principles, which relies on political argumentation exclusively. The discussion repeats itself regularly in powerful flame-wars (last time 14th December 2009).

The proposal was rejected at the conference in Helsinki in December 2008 though, and thus the ratification has not even started. Currently the pirate manifesto is in no way considered a priority (see the linked discussion). The draft version B follows.


The stated purpose of democracy is that the government represents the people. When a government does not represent the people, but a certain subclass, that is not democracy, that is aristocracy. When a government does not listen to facts, but listens to beliefs, that is not democracy, that is theocracy. When a government does not listen to the people, or to the rule of law, that is not democracy, that is dictatorship. We believe that democracy is the ideal, and it is to this end that we do aspire and work.

When laws, when constitutions, when the fabric of a society is ignored, to prop up the power bases of those in control, when rights, liberties, and freedoms are ignored, or deemed less important than protection from some rare event. When the protections themselves are the cause of the actions they are supposed to defeat, when punishments and protections do not deter but incite, and when the greed of the few is deemed more important than the rights of the many, we must question the motives of those that sought them.

To this end, we do establish these Pirate Parties around the world, and state our common purpose in this our manifesto of action, so that society will not collapse as people grab for whatever they can grab now, without thought or care for the future.

About Civil Rights and Liberties

Full democracy can only be achieved through defending civil rights and liberties by protecting the rule of law - this is the true foundation of democracy. By defending some basic human rights: freedom of speech, privacy, presumption of innocence, the right to a fair trial, equality before the law, no discrimination, the right to life and moral and physical integrity. For understanding the context of the two last points we can say that everyone has the right to life and to physical and moral integrity, and under no circumstances may be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment and may not in any way be discriminated against on account of birth, race, sex, religion or opinion.

No political claim or position has any validity if it is not expressed through reasoned and rational thought and argument; violence is by no means a way to achieve political objectives in a democracy.

Existing and future criminal laws, including anti-terrorist laws, must be reviewed for compatibility with human rights and civil liberties and reformed where they are in conflict.

About Restrictions of Ideas and Information

The usage of expressions like intellectual property has to cease. They are harmful and misleading, as they mingle different aspects of laws on immaterial goods with the aim to confuse it with tangible property (material goods).

About Patents

The current patent system is not sustainable; biopatents and software patents are two fields where it has become obvious that there is a need for a change.

Also, pharmaceutical patents should not be allowed to cause pharmaceuticals to become unavailable for some countries or social groups; this is most blatant in the case of pandemics and natural emergencies. These measures, combined with others like reduction of patent term, must be pursued aiming to lessen the impact of the monopolies created by the patent system.

About Trademarks

Trademarks are intended to be, as the name suggests, a label to identify a good or service. We are all for trademark law, as it benefits everyone.

The abuse of trademarks - including using them as a substitute or addition to author's rights - can not be tolerated, as they undermine the public trust. Accordingly, material subject to author's rights should be ineligible for trademarks, and similarly trademarks should be ineligible to be subject to author's rights.

About Author's Rights

The term „intellectual property“ is most often used to mislead people, allowing the extension of authors rights. Authors rights are rights. They are not property to be handed across generations and should not be treated as such. In no other field is a persons work still providing income to their descendants. Further, since it is not, and has never been, property, the notion of theft in this context is utterly meaningless.

These facts require laws regarding author's rights to apply the following principles: reducing term for commercial author's rights; free non-commercial sharing of cultural works, which implies ceasing the prosecution of tools for non-commercial culture sharing like P2P tools; and, given our stance that increased culture sharing should be seen as a positive development within society, abolishment of private copying levies.

Balance between the public's interest in promoting culture and the public's right to use published cultural works is necessary. Today, the balance is biased, but not towards authors, towards publishers who have alienated the author's rights, and the bias grows without control and to the convenience of authorities. Balance has to be reinstated, not only to restore to citizens their rights regarding culture, but also to restore authors rights, preventing them from being alienated anymore.

About Information Society

Advances in technology have enabled people worldwide to exercise their rights and embrace their liberties in ways previously unimagined. It has allowed increased involvement in democracy, and helped to remove the barriers between people all around the world. However, used incorrectly, they could become a tool of division, discrimination and lessening of rights and liberties. To avoid this and take the most advantage from all that an Information Society can offer, there are three goals to be fulfilled.

  • Universal availability of wired and/or wireless Internet access is necessary if we want everyone to enjoy the benefits of an Information Society and avoid a digital divide that would, and is, arising due to social, personal or geographic condition.
  • The preservation of Net Neutrality, as it is a major safeguard against censorship, attacks on privacy and the rise of telecom monopolies - all of which are dangerous to Information Society.
  • Technological neutrality in public office, through mandatory use of open standards and formats, which will enhance relationships between citizens and public office and increase accessibility.

About Government Accountability and Transparency

The primary duty of elected representatives is to represent their constituents. The primary role of government officers is to ensure the smooth running of the government. Both must do this while observing and abiding by the rule of law and civil rights and liberties. In order to ensure this, such officials much be transparent in their actions and activities, and public scrutiny into the affairs of state should not only be allowed, but must be.

The act of election produces a compromise between the electorate and the elected, one based on a promise, a manifesto, or a statement of intent. As such, these promises should not be entered into lightly, and those making them should be held not just legally accountable for their actions, but politically accountable for their actions in respect of their electoral campaign.

Without either transparency or accountability there can be no trust. A government that is not trusted can not be a government of the people for the people, and thus can not be considered democratic. Because we believe in democracy, we believe the citizens deserve to be represented by politicians who have made serving the people their highest priority.

About non-core issues

Having stances in every single issue does not make a party start caring about people's problems; instead, it just makes parties offer monolithic platforms in which most of their voters do not feel properly represented, as less represented as higher is the amount of votes for that party. Voters of mainstream parties just try to find themselves reflected in those platforms, only to discover that in controversial issues such as tax policies, education and healthcare, they are not able to find all what they are looking for in a single party; monolithic platforms are just a mere take it or leave it approach.

For parties like those which are united in our movement, focusing on enabling and enhancing the foundations of democracy and the civil rights and liberties that rest within, securing the freedom for information and culture to flow, bringing the world into the Information Society and paving the way for innovation is the best way to achieve our goals as such goals, goals for allowing citizens to choose the kind of society to live in, require us to be strong as a movement; because that strength comes from unity, and unity is usually brought in democracy by consensus.

By achieving our goal, we will be allowing citizens to express themselves in those controversial issues, increasing chances of consensus; and we will be paving the way for a true pluralism in parliaments, as opening the knowledge and information to citizens will allow individuals to choose the voice that best represents their interests, one of those voices being ours. Thus, supporting us constitutes the best way for citizens to achieve all those goals that lie outside our core issues.

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