Feeds

The Register joins The Pirate Party

...in a mass debate

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

It's the most controversial choice of guest for years - not the BNP on the BBC, but something that caused almost as much controversy.

The Pirate Party founder Rik Falkvinge made his first UK address at the In The City music festival convention and conference this weekend. And I took part in the panel that followed.

Yvette Livesey, who's run the Manchester event since she founded it along with her partner, the late Tony Wilson, in 1992, alluded to pressure from the music business to cancel his appearance. A call apparently went round for delegates to cancel, though we have no corroboration of this.

"I haven't been in trouble at all with some very important people in the music industry," Livesey joked. "They've been shouting at me for the past month. But I do believe in freedom of speech, it's very very important to have these debates. If we'd had them ten years ago we wouldn't be in the position we are now in, in the music industry."

Falkvinge's solo keynote address was changed to "a keynote discussion" - which is where I came in. The panel also included Patrick Roscow of composers' group BASCA, and technology entrepreneur Paul Sanders, who's on the Open Rights Group Advisory Board, as well as the BPI - a most unusual combination, although he did say the large record companies wanted him dead.

What we actually got, largely thanks to Sanders, was a deep discussion on P2P and where copyright could go. By the end, too, some of the veils had fallen away from Falkvinge's carefully tuned presentation - and there was some amazement as the Pirate's position was eventually made clear. One member of the audience, astonished that Falkvinge could advocate copyright expiry after just five years, vowed to burn him at the stake.

"Fuck you," was the conclusion of Dave Smith of Sparkle Street. More on that later.

What made the panel interesting was the composition - which defied media wisdom of a polarised debate that pits terminators against P2P-ers. A majority of the panellists, if not all of them (I can't speak for Roscow, and he doesn't answer his phone) were in favour of file sharing. Falkvinge wants legalised file sharing too, but differs from the others in insisting that the creator's rights must be compromised to permit it to happen legally. If this distinction wasn't clear at the start, it was by the end.

I'm not really into banning odious political speakers, and was delighted that ITC had booked a Pirate. The philosophy the Pirates express might not be very coherent (single issue groups struggle on anything other than their single issue) but it is reflected in big chunks of academia, the media (particularly at the BBC) and amongst some "think tanks" and policy makers. I heard this year, for example, that one part of Whitehall was mulling ending automatic registration of copyright. This gesture would not only have breached the Berne Convention but required all authors, songwriters, journalists, poets and software writers (to name but a few) to opt in.

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

Next page: The Manager's View

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Banking apps: Handy, can grab all your money... and RIDDLED with coding flaws
Yep, that one place you'd hoped you wouldn't find 'em
Video of US journalist 'beheading' pulled from social media
Yanked footage featured British-accented attacker and US journo James Foley
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Primetime precrime? Minority Report TV series 'being developed'
I have to know. I have to find out what happened to my life
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.