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Pirate Party UK launches manifesto

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The Pirate Party UK is launching its manifesto tonight, under embargo: but since we don't believe in antiquated and oppressive IP laws - we're setting it free.

Move over, Mondeo Man: the Pirates are firmly targeting the bloke in the garden shed, with his trousers around his ankles. The Party plans lots of new laws. Laws on "net neutrality" will regulate the internet for the first time, and additional legislation is proposed on encryption and privacy of data, use of CCTV cameras, use of DNA, by-elections, internet advertising, libel and DRM for disabled people.

The Pirates will keep the hated National Identity Register, but vow that it "will be regulated so that it can only contain trivial information".

(What they mean by 'trivial information', we don't know. Perhaps it's whether you prefer Spangles to Polo Mints, or whether you hate Marmite. All good reasons for having a National Identity Register, we guess).

The Pirates also promise to "enshrine in law a new right for photographers and filmmakers to go about their business without persecution under anti-terror laws".

That shouldn't affect too many people, though, for there may not be many photographers or filmmakers still left with a business when they're done. The Party believes that "in this fast moving world [sic] 10 years of copyright protection is long enough". The creator would need to move pretty fast, too. The Party insists copyright owners re-register their work after five years, or it falls into the public domain.

"An exception will be made for software, where a 5 year term will apply to closed source software, and a 10 year term to open source, in recognition of the extra rights given to the public by open source licences."

All that means Microsoft could take Linux, GNOME and GIMP and sell it as proprietary software - the GPL is unenforceable without the courts' recognition of copyright. But it's all for the best.

The Pirate Party is standing in two seats. 18 year-old bookie Graeme Lambert is standing in the Labour marginal of Bury North, and leader Andrew Robinson, a web designer, is standing in Worcester.

They missed a trick. In South West Surrey, Conservative culture frontbencher Jeremy Hunt is facing a challenge from Richard Mollett, the BPI's director of public affairs. That would have been the obvious place to fight a copyright election. It's nearer London, too. ®

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