ZeroPaid Interviews the Pirate Party of Canada

If you asked a file-sharer in, say, 2005, if there would be a political party with a focus on, among other things, copyright and internet rights issues, you were more than likely to just get an odd look or a response wondering what kind of substances you were on. That was just four years ago. Today, the Pirate Party has become an international movement dedicated to, among other things, ensuring privacy, reforming copyright laws and focusing on internet user rights. We interviewed the Pirate Party of Canada to discuss issues such as politics and a new music distribution network for artists.

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

We interviewed Jake Daynes, a spokesperson for the Pirate Party of Canada recently and we had some interesting responses to our questions.

ZeroPaid: What is the Pirate Party and how has it grown since the launch?

Jake Daynes: The Pirate Party of Canada is the Canadian counterpart of the international Pirate Party movement, which has gained seats in Sweden and Germany. We are fighting for fair copyright, patent reform, net neutrality, and government transparency. Our goals can be found here.

ZeroPaid: We’ve heard about a Pirate Party distribution platform that is being launched. What is the distribution platform exactly? Has it been officially launched? Are there any partners involved in this project?

Jake Daynes: Right now I don’t want to say much, but I can say that it utilizes a very “pirate-y” distribution method. Right now it has been started up, though we have not made it live, and we have several partners in this, such as Musicians United Against Censorship, Electronica Artist/DJ: Frozen Ice Cube [Author’s note: The latest music is currently here due to recent technical issues] , and Fading Ways Music.

ZeroPaid: What sort of artists are you looking for? Is it genre specific or location specific or can anyone around the world with any musical style join in? Is it moderated and if so, how long does it take for something to be posted?

Jake Daynes: No, we are not genre specific, we are looking for anybody and everybody! We do have a slight moderation system, which is mainly me going through every track, just to make sure it isn’t a copyright violation, but it shouldn’t take more than 24 hours to get something posted, once the project is live.

ZeroPaid: For artists, what kind of reach does this platform provide (like, how many people are accessing it)? Do you expect this number of people to grow?

Jake Daynes: This platform is access to a global stage, with Pirate Party support in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Sweden, Germany, and the US, we have access to millions of people that are all looking for new music to listen to!

ZeroPaid: I’ve noticed on your home page that you have a sufficient number of members, but you seem to have a second bar for people sending in forms. Are you able to officially register as a political party yet or do you have to have that number of forms handed in before that happens?

Jake Daynes: Right now we are asking everybody to send in their forms, as we need to have a minimum of 250 to register with Elections Canada, though those that sign up are still counted as full members, as membership is free!

ZeroPaid: It’s been talked about plenty of times that the Pirate Bay had a major influence on the success of the Swedish Pirate Party. The only big things like that happening around in Canada seem to have been copyright reform legislation which is already on the back burner because of the copyright consultations. Would you say that the Pirate Party’s growth is attributed to a reaction to major copyright related events or is it more of an ongoing growth for the Canadian Pirate Party?

Jake Daynes: Actually, few people know it, but Canada has it’s own Pirate Bay right here in Richmond, B.C.: isoHUNT, which is run by Gary Fung just south of Vancouver. Copyright is a global issue that is affecting everybody, and even though the copyright consultations are putting reform on the back burner as you put it, the PPoC is continuing to grow, with members and chapters all across the country.

ZeroPaid: There have been a number of countries that have Pirate Parties officially registered, but all these countries seem to be in Europe. Is it the goal of the Pirate Party of Canada to be the first non-European country to be an official political party?

Jake Daynes: Yes, currently the PPoC is looking to become the first non-European party to be officially registered.

ZeroPaid: There are rumours that there could, on a remote chance, be an election in the Fall. If that happens, is there a chance that the Pirate Party could be in that election?

Jake Daynes: Sadly no, because of current election legislation, the PPoC would have to have been a registered party 60 days before the writ of an election, though we will continue to push our issues, and hope that the voice of fair copyright is heard by current parties.

ZeroPaid: There are a number of people out there who might suggest that the party doesn’t stand much of a chance with the First Past the Post system along with the established parties. Having said that though, is it the goal for the party to win seats or is it more about sending a message to government that said Canadians are concerned with certain issues in the copyright, privacy and technology related fields of policy making?

Jake Daynes: Yes, it is in fact very difficult for a new party to break into the First Past the Post system, take, for example, the Green Party, garnering 13% of the popular vote last election and still not gaining a seat. Our goal is indeed to gain seats, though one important point is that our message is heard, because lets face it, we as a party prove that Canadians are concerned, and some even passionate about these issues.

ZeroPaid: Do you have anything further to add?

Jake Daynes: I, Jake Daynes, would just like to add that if anybody is interested in the Party, my personal email is [email protected], and I would be happy to discuss them with you. If you would like to debate the Party’s views, our forums are very lively.

ZeroPaid: Thank you very much for your time.

Jake Daynes: Thank you Drew

We would like to thank Jake Daynes for taking the time out of his busy schedule to talk to us.

The Pirate Party of Canada was started somewhere between the end of June and July 2nd. It’s been seeking membership since the launch and has grown to roughly 500 members in the span of two months. Pirate Party of Canada’s official website home page.

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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