Broader public access to information, knowledge and culture is a prerequisite for our society’s social, technological, and economic development. However, it has been hindered by artificial information monopolies, which are supposedly designed to motivate creators and inventors to produce more. In reality, the only beneficiaries of the monopolies are huge corporations. The system as a whole is failing to meet the claimed objectives. This failure manifests itself in many forms, including the frequent bullying of individuals and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by collecting societies, privatization of profits from publicly funded works, or the loss of orphan works. We face attempts to create new copyright restrictions on AI-generated content.
Our goal is to create an environment where the motivation to create goes hand in hand with freedom of information. These challenges require thorough copyright reform and systemic changes in the public sector.
Promotion of the Commons and Free Culture
We will work towards adopting provisions in trade agreements which support the use and development of open formats and Free/Libre Open Source Software and promote the mutual recognition of licence models like Creative Commons.
The creation of commons, such as Free Software, free cultural goods, open patent tools, and free and open educational material, must be promoted and legally protected.
To the greatest possible extent, existing cultural heritage shall be digitized and made available to the public free of charge.
Free culture is an essential base for the education and creativity of society. We promote artistic activity and cultural diversity to ensure a rich educational and creative environment for present and future generations.
The European Pirate Party is advocating for a copyright reform that is inclusive and fair. We strive towards a copyright system that reflects the changing landscape of the digital age and promotes a more equitable society.
We believe in creating a fair system that enables creators to receive compensation for their work while ensuring that the public has access to valuable resources. We strive to abolish information monopolies, supposedly designed to motivate authors to produce more works. In reality, only a handful benefit, while the market as a whole is failing. Our goal is to create an environment where the motivation to create goes hand in hand with freedom of information.
Copying, storing, using, and providing access to literary and artistic works for non-commercial purposes must not only be legalized but protected by law. Everyone should be able to enjoy and share our cultural heritage free from the threat of legal action or censorship.
The time-span of a commercial monopoly given by copyright should be further shortened. Derivative works shall always be permitted, with exceptions enumerated explicitly in law, with minimal room for interpretation. Freedom of information must be safeguarded by safeguarding the right to link: Hyperlinks are a fundamental building block of the World Wide Web and must never constitute a copyright infringement. Remixing, parodies, quotes, and sampling shall be exempt from the exclusive right of the commercial copyright monopoly. Non-commercial file sharing should be allowed.
Monopolies in the sectors of information and culture have to be prevented. The Pirates strictly oppose the creation of additional layers of copyright restriction for AI-generated outputs – such as AI-generated texts, paintings, and other works. By law, the state should only allow or maintain exclusive rights for intangible goods if these are in the public interest. Any exclusive rights must be temporally limited; neither their time span nor scope may be expanded retrospectively.
European collecting societies must ensure comprehensive transparency, fair, participatory rights for their members and fair contract terms for artists.
Free Knowledge and Education
An educated and critically thinking population is necessary for sustaining functional democracy, welfare, and social cohesion. We strive for universal access to high-quality education across the EU that enables people’s personal development, unhindered by their social and economic background.
The education system must offer citizens all the essential skills for independent and creative life in the information society. Through education, we wish to improve people’s critical thinking.
The European Pirate Party aims to create a system that encourages cross-border education and makes it accessible to all students and education workers in the European Union. Student and teacher mobility is an advantageous way to spread educational know-how across Europe and fight national education systems’ underdevelopment.
Free access to knowledge and information is essential and must be promoted and guaranteed in education. Educational institutions should increasingly use learning resources available under free licenses without any restrictions on copying. The availability of educational media under free licenses to all is essential for barrier-free access to education, both within and beyond the borders of the EU.
We support digitising educational institutions and publishing documents stored in public libraries and archives across the EU.
We see innovation as the key to developing our cultural and intellectual wealth. We support educating citizens and students about their right to information and free formats and Free Software in all types of educational facilities. We oppose maintaining the vendor lock-in reality favouring leading digital solutions producers.
Media Freedom and Pluralism
Free and independent media are the foundation of healthy and well-functioning democracies. Yet, in recent years, we have observed attempts to paralyse free media by state authorities, attacks, and cases of spying on journalists and mergers of media houses diminishing the European media landscape. Citizens of the EU have the right to receive impartial and pluralistic media content.
We support the effort to harmonise minimum rules and safeguards to protect media freedom and pluralism in the EU. We see strict rules on ownership structures and promoted content as a key to preventing unfair allocation of state economic resources. We need tools to assess media market concentration and evaluate risks rising from economic transactions that further impact pluralism in the media market.
Patents in the Information Age
Patents are often an obstacle to innovation rather than an incentive. The patenting of knowledge in areas like genetics and biotechnology, as well as software, makes the process it a tangible threat to the future of our society.
Monopolies on plants and seeds and costly legal disputes about often trivial patents already demonstrate how both innovators and consumers have to pay the price. Patent law needs to be reformed or replaced with an approach that enables a shared economy and more accessible and sustainable markets instead of continuing to hamper innovation further.
Rebalancing Patents with the Common Good
Patents do not exist to allow big businesses to stifle competition with an ever-growing tide of trivial and overreaching patents. We, therefore, want to halt the continued and increasing abuse of patents.
Patents in the Information Society
Success in the information society is no longer dependent only on technological inventions but on the development of knowledge and sharing of information. The effort to regulate these factors via the patent system is diametrically opposed to our demand for freedom of knowledge and culture.
Patents should never be granted for “inventions” that are trivial, non-substantial, computer programs, business models, or works of nature. These types of patents impede the development of information society and result in the privatisation of the commons. Innovation must be fairly rewarded, but this does not necessarily require granting monopolistic privileges that harm innovation and negatively affect access to essential goods.
The EU, its Member States and other industrialised countries should not force less developed countries to accept patent provisions that are likely to be detrimental to their essential needs, health, education, or development opportunities.
Patents, Medicines and Health
We oppose the frequent abuses of patent privileges, such as introducing spurious changes to medicines with expiring patent protection. Uncompetitive practices, such as paying competitors to delay the marketing of generics, should be actively prevented.
We support establishing and funding alternative methods to incentivise pharmaceutical innovation, progressively replacing patents in this area. We aim to break the direct link between the reward for advances and the end product’s price to ensure medicines are affordable for all.
Universities and research institutes should be able to carry out scientific research for health and medicine without being encumbered by patents.
International Regulation of Intellectual Monopolies
The Pirates strive for a revision of the TRIPS Agreement in favour of restricting exclusive rights on intangible goods. We would aim for similar restrictions to apply to all trade agreements, which may include similar or even more far-reaching regulations on patents and copyright.