Lawyers, Guns, Bongs and Money

When The Leader of the Swedish Pirate Party was on a speaking tour of the Temporary Autonomous Zones known as Google and the Stanford Law School, there was a surprise development. His moderator admonished the gathered pirate fans to contribute to the Pirate Party by handing cash to The Leader. Yes, within yards of the door of the co-founder of “Change Congress”, an ironically old-school political event occurred—wads of cash were pressed into the hands of a politician. Where is Boss Tweed when you need him?

But it should be clear that the Pirate Party is not satisfied with staying in Europe. No, they are thinking more broadly.

I found a helpful link on Professor Geist’s website for the Wiki of the Pirate Party of Canada and many other useful organizational links for those interested. (There’s also a link to The Leader’s appearance at Google in case you’ve never seen a pol actually ask for wads of cash

There are three “Resources” listed on the website, the first of which is Professor Lessig’s “Free Culture”, then Chris Anderson/Wikipedia “[Footnote] Free”, and “Against Intellectual Monopoly”. I haven’t read that last one but I have read the first two. If you’re thinking about reading the Pirate Party Manifesto, you can save yourself some time if you’ve read “Free Culture” as the Manifesto essentially regurgitates many Lessigisms same—sorry, remixes same.

According to the Wiki for the Pirate Party of Canada ( there are a number of issues of importance to the Canadian pirates:

“Legalization and taxation of marijuana as a revenue source”: would be one—not sure what bongs have to do with net neutrality, dude, but like whatever. Bongs just want to be free.

“Socialization of ISPs”: Yes, let’s socialize those ISP before they shut down piracy.

“Possession of firearms” and “Right to Self Defense”: Interesting.

“Union rights and liberties”: Just not the artist unions, right?

“Expiration of Copyright”: Maybe they meant “extinguishment”?

And so on. (What happened to online poker?) Perhaps Professor Geist can provide some more links so that those who find a disconnect between drugs, guns and IP can be a bit better educated.

I also wonder why the Pirate Party of Canada only mentions Professor Lessig’s book and not Geist’s voluminous writings? Yanks Under The Bed or substantial similarity?

However much the Pirate Party wiki sounds like getting costumes and putting on a play in the barn, the desire of demagogues to manipulate the current state of the “file sharing” mob cannot be underestimated. Men on white horses are, of course, not unique to the Lessig movement.

But one could also argue that the best news that creators have had in years is that the Pirate Party is now in the legislative light of day wherever they appear so that all may hear their message and judge what they stand for—lawyers, guns, bongs, money and all. There will be little to no anonymity about the Pirate Party’s activities in office. This is not to mention the denial of service attacks and other potential cybercrimes visited upon anyone who sought to bring the Pirate Bay to justice. All denied, all strangely coincidental—and all anonymous. Like most cyberattacks. I wonder if Gerry Adams is envious. Why bomb Harrods when you can bring the Metropolitan Police to its knees with a nice hacker from Bulgaria?

We look forward to hearing more about the course that the Pirate Party and its progeny would have the world follow—and their well-reasoned theory about why their anarchy and utopianism should extend solely to intellectual property and not beyond. The Canadian focus on 420, firearms and socializing ISPs may offer a clue.

Professor Lessig was quoted as saying “Call your party the Pirate Party, and you’ll reinforce [the message that ‘Hollywood’ is fighting illegitimate thieves’]. The branding is not one that I would embrace here in the United States.”

Ah yes. It’s not about the substance, it’s all about the “branding,” isn’t it?

I wonder what “branding” Professor Lessig would embrace in the U.S. and his fan Professor Geist would embrace in Canada? The Marijuana Party of Canada, perhaps?

Neither Canada nor the European Parliament are Temporary Autonomous Zones as I expect the Pirates will discover soon enough, chronik notwithstanding. They may like to make up their own rules on the Internet, but they will not find national election laws as easy to hide from. What’s going to be interesting to me is how the Pirates (now part of the Green Party coalition in the European Parliament) are going to only vote on “pirate issues”. Are they going to abstain from voting on “non Pirate” issues? And will it be called the Green Pirate coalition? Now there’s an image.

Stay tuned….

With apologies to Warren Zevon