Free Culture

Culture is at the heart of human identity. From cave paintings to the poetry that was once copied and sent to soldiers in the trenches, culture has always been something shared – a social glue and a bond between individuals and their communities. Cultural sharing is innate to human nature and learning. It is an important driver of human creativity and progress.

In modern times, technology has changed the way in which culture is produced and experienced. The rise of mass-production in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries opened the way for new forms of distribution, but also created a means for the owners of industrial mass production to control and restrict access. Intellectual property laws emerged which treated culture as something to be restricted, monetised and made artificially scarce. As technology progressed, however, the ability to mass produce in the digital realm has shifted cultural modes back to their historical norms, opening the way to a new era of grass roots cultural production.

Attempts to re-impose the forms of control and artificial scarcity which governed the distribution of culture in the 20th century will fail, simply because the technological “moment in time” which enabled such a model to exist has now passed. We believe the time has come to undo the harm done to our cultural commons as a result of 20th century copyright policy. However, this does create a serious question: where culture is freely available, how will artists and creators be paid and supported?

Pirate Party Australia has several answers to this. We will support a basic income guarantee which provides universal support to artists. We also propose a new wave of investment to create new cultural hubs for our communities. These new hubs will expand the role currently played by libraries and provide free facilities for creation of music and art. They will also be places where legal obstacles such as obsolete Digital Rights Management (which hampers archivists who seek to engage in digital archiving) can be overturned. Additionally, we will seek to establish a new fund to sponsor artists and invest in the creation of films, literature and visual art. And finally, Pirate Party Australia will seek to provide smaller live music and performance venues with tax breaks to protect and enshrine their importance in bringing people together.

Pirate Party Australia is a firm supporter of public broadcasting. We oppose all attempts to sabotage the independence and broadcasting standards of the ABC. The ABC is one of Australia’s few highly trusted institutions and its capacity to reach a diverse national audience with cultural programming make it especially important to Australia’s artistic and cultural communities. A complete subordination of Australia’s media landscape to commercial interests and the political agendas of their owners should be resisted by anyone who supports independent media and the growth of Australian culture.

We believe open, participatory culture and investment in artists is the future for Australia. A Pirate Party government will fund the arts more than any Australian government before it.