Swedish Pirate Party's Influence Beginning to Show...

Swedish Pirate Party Flag

Seven members of the Swedish Parliament have published an opinion piece calling for the decriminalization of filesharing. Written in reaction to a government analyst's recommendation that file-sharers be punished by losing their Internet connections, the letter is practically a verbatim recitation of what the Swedish Pirate Party has been saying for a long time now:

"...Decriminalizing all non-commercial file sharing and forcing the market to adapt is not just the best solution. It's the only solution, unless we want an ever more extensive control of what citizens do on the Internet. Politicians who play for the antipiracy team should be aware that they have allied themselves with a special interest that is never satisfied and that will always demand that we take additional steps toward the ultimate control state..."

When he visited the United States last summer, Rick Falkvinge, the Pirate Party's founder, pointed out that one of the Party's most important functions was educating other politicians. By competing for seats in Parliament, the Party forces other candidates to give more attention to copyright and patent issues, out of fear of losing votes to the Pirates. It looks like that's exactly what's happened here. If so, kudos to Rick and the Pirate Party: they've made a powerful argument for valuing civil liberties over obsolete business models, and it's clearly catching on when members of Parliament from the Moderate Party adopt a major plank from the Pirate Party platform.

[Update: Over at the P2P Consortium, there's a good new interview with Rick Falkvinge up. Shameless confession: we're very pleased to see the references there to Falkvinge's speaking tour here last summer, which QuestionCopyright.org arranged.]

Help Keep Bibliographic Data License-Free

Picture of the U.S. Library of Congress

The Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Information at the Library of Congress has just released its final Draft Report. There's much that's good in it, but it's lacking an important feature: an insistence that bibliographic data be license-free, as per point 8 of the Open Government Data Principles. (See also Jonathan Gray's post about this, and the Open Knowledge Foundation petition.)

This may just be an oversight on the working group's part, or it may reflect some deeper hesitancy about committing fully to the public domain. They've asked for comments on the draft, though, and it would be great if they heard from a lot of people about this. You can send them comments here:

Here's what I sent them...

Open Government Data Principles

Got Data?

This Friday and Saturday, I took part in a working group meeting of 30 open government advocates, organized by Carl Malamud and Tim O'Reilly, to develop a set of Open Government Data Principles.

One of the few bright spots in United States copyright law has always been that data produced by the government is, in theory, in the public domain. While there have of course been encroachments on this doctrine from time to time, it has generally been been held to in practice as well as in theory.

Unfortunately, being in the public domain isn't necessarily the same as being online and accessible in reasonable formats via modern protocols. For example, Carl Malamud has spent a fair amount of effort prying the raw records of copyright registrations out of the U.S. Copyright Office at the Library of Congress and putting them online in a much more useful way than the government ever had. Similar stories abound among those with experience extracting electronic data from governments.


Subscribe to QuestionCopyright.org RSS