We, the Pirate Parties and NGOs of the Pirate movement around the world, express our solidarity with the Catalan Pirates whose websites about the Referendum of Self Determination campaign and the use of Tor are currently being censored by the Spanish authorities. Additionally, we express our solidarity with all citizens of Catalonia who have been met with violent state repression for exercising their democratic right to vote in the independence referendum.

We denounce all political censorship. The internet censorship by Spanish authorities is an unacceptable violation of human rights and political freedoms, regardless of the legality of the Catalan referendum and the merits of the secessionist cause.

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In January 2014, the European Commission awarded a contract to the Dutch firm Ecor to research sales displacement (loss) rates on copyrighted content due to internet piracy. The report was completed in May 2015 but it appears the European Commission didn’t like the report’s conclusion – the results were skimmed and buried until Julia Reda from Pirate Party Germany launched a freedom of information request to make the document publicly available[1]. It confirmed what Pirate parties around the world have been saying all along – that piracy cannot be conclusively said to cause financial harm to authors and creators, and that there are choices for those selling copyrighted works which are more likely to boost their sales than further attempts at cracking down on piracy via regulations or rights management, which often breach and erode the civil rights of everyone.

It’s true that the study did find the strongest potential displacement effect (sales loss) in films and TV shows at 27-40% for the first year of release with this loss being most prominent in cinema visits, where distribution companies will often restrict access through other channels to try and funnel consumers into their preferred medium (cinema). It’s interesting to note also that this potential loss was offset by an increased rate of legal streaming and DVD rentals as a potential side effect of online piracy. What’s extremely interesting is that the study found the average consumer ideal (most willing) price for films and TV shows was below the average market price, suggesting overpriced content is a significant driver of piracy rates[2.1].

Using an alternate approach the report also suggested there may be positive links between piracy and legal transactions of media, that increased piracy in some instances resulted in increased content sales. This was most prominent in concert goers who also streamed or downloaded music, and people who downloaded games[2.4]. Pirates who illegally downloaded large amounts of content were not found to have caused any lost sales[2.2][2.3].

In an analysis of other studies examining the effects of piracy, there were many conflicting or insignificant results. Earlier studies (2000s) tended to show a decrease in physical sales correlated with an increase in digital piracy, however this can be explained by the rise of the internet and how much easier it is to access content online[2.4][2.5]. The study did not examine the effects of regional or platform availability into the rates of displacement, although ease of access to content is often cited as the most common motivation for piracy among Australians[3][4][5][6].

Pirate Party Australia opposes stifling monopolies[7] on the basis that they needlessly drive up costs for the end consumer. Pirate Party Australia propose the introduction of a new Creative Works Act[8] to limit corporate rightsholder abuses through copyright law on creativity and culture, as this report has shown the claims of rightsholders need to be tested with evidence before legislators further extend copyright laws causing more harm than good.

[1] https://juliareda.eu/2017/09/secret-copyright-infringement-study/#wysija
[2] https://cdn.netzpolitik.org/wp-upload/2017/09/displacement_study.pdf
[2.1] p170
[2.2] p149
[2.3] p139
[2.4] p80
[2.5] p140
[3] https://www.reddit.com/r/australia/comments/48r78c/well_back_to_piracy_i_guess/
[4] https://www.reddit.com/r/australia/comments/6xzq0b/this_antipiracy_scare_campaign_is_bullshit/
[5] https://www.reddit.com/r/australia/comments/31ppni/dallas_buyers_club_slays_iinet_in_landmark_piracy/
[6] https://www.reddit.com/r/australia/comments/5v2htl/village_roadshow_announced_a_5point_antipiracy/
[7] https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Platform#Declaration_of_platform_and_principles
[8] https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Platform#Culture_and_creative_works

Due to vacancies left at the 2017 Congress we held an election for a position on the Dispute Resolution Committee and the role of Deputy President. 180 out of a possible 1,344 full members voted.

Deputy President: John Edward Philip Jeffery
Dispute Resolution Committee: Liam Pomfret

The full breakdown of results can be found on the Party’s voting server for a short time, including raw JSON data.

The software used is Oyster, a free and open source voting system.

The High Court has ruled that the Coalition government’s $122 million dollar postal survey on same sex marriage can go ahead, meaning that all Australian voters will have the chance to vote on a basic equal rights issue.

“The Pirate Party is in full support of equal rights for LGBTI people” said Tom Randle, Secretary of Pirate Party Australia. “We join with the efforts of the Yes campaign to remove discrimination against LGBTI couples in law, everyone deserves the same rights when it comes to marriage — as has occurred in some 21 other countries to date[1] — and really is a fundamental human right[2].”

“While our policy goes further than the proposed changes[3], incremental improvements are always welcome. The Pirate Party urges everyone to vote Yes for marriage equality. We will be supporting all campaigning efforts to finally and respectfully resolve the question of equality of relationships between people who love each other, since the government has failed to simply bring a vote into the Federal Parliament so far.”

References:
[1]: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/10/07/glance-same-sex-marriage-around-world
[2]: http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
[3]: https://pirateparty.org.au/wiki/Policies/Marriage

Pirate Party Australia supports in principle the government’s call for a review of the space industry capability in Australia. This is an opportunity for the government to win back trust lost in the technology sector through implementation of the short sighted fibre to the node model for the National Broadband Network. A rapidly expanding Australian space industry should form part of a multistrand approach to science, technology, and innovation policy as laid out in Pirate Party Australia’s policy platform, which calls for a National Science Plan[1].

The creation of a national space agency provides opportunity for visionary new public policy to place Australia at the forefront of global aerospace and telecommunications industries, bringing investors and technological capital to Australia. This matches Pirate Party Australia’s policy for the formation of a National Institute for Space Science and a $100 million grant for development of infrastructure as recommended by the 2010 National Committee for Space Sciences Decadal plan[2]. It will also support the Party’s proposal for an online science portal available to schools and the general public containing free materials for science education[1].

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