2006-06-12

Speech from a pirate

The following is the translation of the speech, held by Pirate Party chairman Rickard Falkvinge on the June 3rd pirate demonstration in protest to the raid on The Pirate Bay.

Friends, citizens and pirates.

There is nothing new under the sun.

My name is Rickard Falkvinge, and I am chairman of the Pirate Party.

In the last week, we have seen a number of breaches of legal security take place. We have seen the police misuse their privilleges of force. We have seen how innocent has been affected. We have seen how the media industry acts. And we have seen how politicians on the highest international level acts to protect the media industry. All this is scandalous beyond comparison, that's why we are all here today.

The media industry, the record and movie industry, they want to make us believe that this is about models of payment, that this is about how people of a certain profession are to be paid, that this is about their decreasing sales, that this is about dry statistics. This is a pretext, an excuse. This is about something completely different. So, to understand the situation today in the light of history, I would like to go back four hundered years.

I want us to think back four hundered years, to when the church had a monopoly on culture and knowledge. What the church said, that was it. Pyramid communication, there was one source for all knowledge and culture, and that was the church. And woe to he who dared to challenge the monopoly on culture and knowledge. They were subjects to the worst thinkable breaches of legal protection in that time. The possessor of the culture and knowledge monopoly had at its disposal the entire legal system to persecute, punish and harass all involved in questioning their monopoly, and everyone that had been close to them.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Today we know, today we know that the only thing that is right for the development of society was to release knowledge. That Gallileo Gallilei were right even though he challenged the monopoly of knowledge. Again, we are talking about a time when the church, with full force, said that it was unnecessary for the citizens to learn how to read and write, since the priest could tell them everything they needed to know anyway. The church understood what it meant to lose control of culture and knowledge.

Then came the printing press.

Suddenly there were not only one source of knowledge to listen to, but several. The citizens, now learning to read, could take in un-sanctioned knowledge. The church was furious. The royal houses were furious. The british royal house even went so far, that they instituted a special law, that stated that only chosen printers, printers approved by the royal house, were allowed to print books, create a multitude of culture and knowledge among the citizens.

This law, this law was named "Copyright".

Then there were a few hundered years. and we had freedom of press. But everywhere there were still the same old model for communication. One in the top that talks to many people downwards. One that is the source, and many listening. This made it possible for the state to appoint responsible publishers. They thought that citizens should surely be able to get knowledge, but woe to the person who spreads the wrong knowledge.

And it is this that is under a process of foundational change today, because the Internet is not following this model. We are not only downloading culture and knowledge, we are also uploading at the same time. We're not only downloading and uploading, we're file sharing. Culture and knowledge has, amazingly enough, lost its central control node. And this this is central to this entire speech, so I will go into greater detail:

Downloading is the old mass medial model, where there is a central control node, a control node that is the responsible editor, publisher, that can be held responsible, that can lose benifits, et cetera. Where everone can download knowledge from the central control node, after the control and arbitrariness of that control node. Monopoly on culture and knowledge. Control.

File sharing, that means simultaneous uploading and downloading from every connected person, and lacks this central control node, but where are culture and knowledge flows organically between millions of people at the same time. It is something essentially different, something completely new in the history of human communication, and there no longer is anyone to hold responsible if the wrong knowledge is spread.

This is why the media companies speaks so much about "legal downloading". Legal downloading!. Because they are trying to make it the only legal option to get from the node that they control. Downloading, not file sharing. And this is exactly why we should change the laws.

In the past week we saw how far a player is prepared to go to prevent the loss of control over culture and knowledge. We saw the constitution itself being violated. We saw how repressions and violations of integrity were used by the legal apparatus. Not for fighting crime, but with the obvious purpose to harass everyone that had been close to this, and those that had been close to them.

There is nothing new under the sun and history always repeats itself.

This is not about payment to people of a certain profession. This is about control over culture and knowledge. Because he who controls those, controls the world.

The media industry, the music and movie industry, have tried to make us feel shame, to say what we are doing is illegal, that we are pirates. They want to hide us under a rock.

Look around yourselves today. Look have they have failed!

Yes, we are pirates!

But whoever believes there is something shameful is mistaken, it is something we are proud of! We have already seen what it means to be without central control. We have tasted, and felt, and smelled freedom without a top-down controlled culture and knowledge monopoly. We have already learned to read and write. And we do not intend to forget how to read and write. We do not intend to forget how to read and write, only because it does suit the music and movie interests of yesterday.

My name is Richard, and I am a pirate.


The speech has been made available through Google Video, appearantly by a user calling himself "Piratpartiet", which is the Swedish name of the Pirate Party. I have no reason to doubt that this user is a member or representative of the party.

Anyway, for you who know Swedish, and have missed this speech, you can watch the video here.





In the end of the video, Falkvinge will turn the word to Fredrik Neij from the Pirate Bay, a speech that has every possibility to become a classic. Translation will be right up.

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