German Pirate party punters 'don't pay their membership fees'
The Pirate Party of Germany (Piratenpartei) achieved breakthrough success capturing the protest vote last autumn - but its appeal may be starting to wane.
The anti-copyright party won 8.9 per cent of the Berlin vote and has been attempting to build a national party organisation. However, Der Spiegel reports that "almost half of the party's members have yet to pay their annual membership fee."
The paper suggests that in-fighting and an absence of policy, tactics or strategy are hurting the German branch of the international movement. Party members are almost exclusively male, according to a recent Graun report.
Der Spiegel also makes the rather startling claim that the German Pirate Party doesn't 'stand' for anything. Quite why this makes the Pirates unique is a puzzle; a characteristic of modern parties is that they don't 'stand' for anything either, and this has been a factor in fuelling support for parties that run against the political mainstream - like the Pirates.
If the major parties offered voters a real choice, then making a protest vote against the system would not be so attractive. As I wrote two years ago, the major parties offer the prospective member little except the prospect of the exercise of power itself.
Yet aside from platitudes about 'internet freedom' - where that freedom is gained at someone else's expense - and a common belief in direct democracy and the importance of privacy, the accusation has some truth. The Pirates readily admit to being an umbrella for 'marginal groups' ... including groups which may be marginal for a reason.
For example, the father of the Pirate Party movement – Dick Augustsson (he prefers to use the stage name 'Rick Falkvinge' - aka 'Hawk Wing') has said he believes the "possession" of child pornography should be legalised (translated from an interview in Swedish). Falkvinge stepped down as leader of the international movement in 2011.
The next Bundestag elections are in September 2013, and the Pirates may yet achieve the 5 per cent of the popular vote required to gain a seat. ®
'German Pirate party punters 'don't pay their membership fees''
Do they just download them instead?
Re: 'German Pirate party punters 'don't pay their membership fees''
Possibly a pirate who doesn't like it when they are reminded that they are cheap thieves. Surprising number of people happily admit to downloading stuff but get all irate and pissy if you even hint that they might have stolen something. Reality is that while large numbers do pirate stuff they aren't hardened criminals, they don't at heart believe it's moral or justified, they just live in that same bubble of self delusion as middle class shoplifters who when caught are mortified and embarrassed.
And yes, for saying this out loud I'll attract a storm of down votes because it's an uncomfortable truth.
Re: "Saying this out loud"
Oh, it's this argument again...
"It's not technically theft according to the letter of the law therefore it's morally justified."
I can't even be arsed rebuking it properly any more, you'll just have to deal with a list of bullet points;
- Physical items are sold at a price determined by Materials + Labour + Profit Margin = Price
- Digital copies of creative works are sold at a price determined by (Materials + Labour + Profit Margin) / Number Of Copies That Can Realistically Be Sold = Price
- By creating a digital copy and not paying your fraction you are depriving the creators the opportunity to recoup their costs.
- You couldn't copy a car anyway because of patents held by the car manufacturer as well as laws regarding trade dress.
- If you were to copy a car it would involve smelting your own metal, beating panes, welding a chassis, moulding your own tyres, etc. When you talk about copying something digital, lets say music, I highly doubt you mean you're going to sit down with a guitar, a mic and some audio software to record your own copy. You're going to just duplicate somebody else's hard work.
- A lack of perceived quality is not an excuse to take something without paying.
- If somebody is offering you goods or a service and you feel the price is extortionate, go without. You don't have some automatic right to take whatever you want without paying just because you personally feel Big Corp is over charging.
- Stop acting like a spoilt child. Content producers owe you nothing. You're more than welcome to produce your own.