“Pirate Party Australia is delighted to see the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy and Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull embrace the Pirate ethos yesterday with both openly defying copyright laws more boldly than we could hope for,” said Pirate Party Deputy President, Simon Frew. “We try to change copyright policy by campaigning for changes in the law and running candidates for Parliament, while they have both decided to openly defy the law and breach copyright on social media platforms.”
Malcolm Turnbull posted a clip of the Coalition NBN launch from ABC News24 on his YouTube page today and Stephen Conroy opened his Twitter account using a Dalek as his avatar. The use of a Dalek by Senator Conroy is a minor breach and most likely of no concern to the BBC who aren’t known for suing fans over minor infringements of copyright. The news clip posted by Malcolm Turnbull is a larger breach of copyright: when users post clips of sports broadcasts or news segments, broadcasters often issue take-down notices to enforce their right.
“Perhaps it is an attempt to chase the file-sharer vote,” Mr Frew continued. “Taking statistics from anti-piracy groups, approximately a quarter of Australian Internet users engage in illegal fiesharing. While we view these reports with a healthy degree of skepticism, perhaps both major parties have decided to stop treating Internet users like criminals and have started to chase the ‘pirate vote’. Maybe they’re concerned about the possibility of Pirate Party Australia’s election campaign being successful.”
With many people believing Pirate Party Australia’s April Fools gag was genuine, the issue highlights the fact that it is becoming increasingly impossible to distinguish real instances of overzealous copyright holders’ claims from parodies of their behaviour.
The Party released a statement claiming that it had received a takedown request in regard to a poster that parodied YouTube’s notice that a video had been removed due to a copyright claim. Although this was an obvious joke to those who created it, the Party was surprised when people mistook the fictitious claim as genuine.
“The resulting enquiries regarding whether or not this actually happened amazed us because we thought the idea was too far fetched to be believable,” said Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer, Deputy Secretary of Pirate Party Australia. “Rather than poking fun by parodying copyright maximalists, it appears we came frighteningly close to the truth.”
This is an April Fool’s joke.
Pirate Party Australia has been handed a takedown request after the Party began issuing a poster design that parodies YouTube’s “this video is no longer available due to a copyright claim” notification. The Party has promptly ceased distribution and production of the poster, and begun to recall any that might still be at large.
“We were under the impression that parody and satire would be respected, but rather than fight this we decided to comply,” said Mozart Olbrycht-Palmer, Deputy Secretary of Pirate Party Australia. “This request is symptomatic of the absurdity of modern copyright maximalism. Time and time again copyright holders treat the public — which has generously allowed them to have these rights — with contempt. We must never forget that copyright is granted by law in the interests of society. When laws are abused or become inadequate, they need to be changed. Copyright should be no exception.”
Stakeholders at a briefing held by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) last Friday were told that the upcoming regional agreement, Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), would contain some intellectual property provisions similar to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).
ACTA was rejected by the European Union earlier this year, and the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) has recommended against ratification until stringent criteria are met, including a cost-benefit analysis. Pirate Party Australia made multiple submissions to JSCOT regarding ACTA.
The TPP will contain an intellectual property chapter cobbled together from various other free trade agreements and treaties, including the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), representatives of DFAT indicated when questioned. This is in direct contradiction to a 2010 recommendation by the Productivity Commission to seek to exclude intellectual property provisions from future bilateral and regional trade agreements (BRTAs), after AUSFTA introduced a net loss to the Australian economy.
“It is of great concern that we may see the reintroduction of ACTA-like provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which has been resoundly binned as a poorly formed agreement, starting with the EU rejecting it and continuing with JSCOT’s scathing review,” said Brendan Molloy, Secretary of Pirate Party Australia.
Pirate Party Australia is disappointed that Canada and Mexico will formally join negotiations for the flawed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) this week.
The Pirate Party has been very critical of the Agreement, particularly as there has been minimal engagement with the public – both in Australia and in the other negotiating nations – and only two draft chapters have been leaked.
“From these leaks, it is evident that at least some TPP negotiators are pushing for provisions that go beyond the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) that was rejected by the European Union earlier this year, and which is yet to be ratified in Australia,” said David W. Campbell, President of Pirate Party Australia. “While the Pirate Party movement internationally has been one of the key opponents to ACTA due to its overreaching copyright and patent enforcement provisions, what is worrying about the TPP is that it is being conducted in near absolute secrecy making it difficult for concerned groups to offer criticism. When drafting international agreements, the citizens of those nations involved have a right to consultation, which must include access to draft texts.”