Monday, 21 May 2012

PoliticsUK interviews Loz Kaye, Leader of the Pirate Party UK 18.12.11

    • Politics UK Good Evening. PoliticsUK would like to welcome with Loz Kaye, Leader of the Pirate Party.

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK Good evening and thanks for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to it.

    • Politics UK The Pirate Party was founded on 30 July 2009. Can you tell our users how the Pirate Party came into existence?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK The Pirate Party movement was founded in Sweden in 2006, focussing on digital rights and reform of copyright and patents. The controversial raiding of a facility hosting The Pirate Bay put them in the spotlight, leading to a significant victory in the 2009 European elections leaving them with 2 MEPs.

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK This caught the imagination of many worldwide, but also in the UK. A group including our first leader put the party together in Britain, working online. The controversial Digital Economy Act also had the effect of bringing many people to us. It is just one example of why we are so needed in UK politics.

    • Politics UK How is the Pirate Party different from the big three UK Parties?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK The Pirate Party movement is the first genuinely 21st century political movement. We seek to put digital rights at the heart of the political agenda where they belong. We want an education system, healthcare, economy and cultural life that is sustainable for the new world we find ourselves in. We want to defend the rights to free speech and protest. And after all, there is plenty to protest about at the moment.

      As we don’t have delegate conferences, all members have a direct say in policy. This is a fundamental difference to the major parties who shy away from real debate. We remain independent of lobbyists, unions, think tanks and other special interest groups.

      We believe that politicians have a duty to be open and accountable. And have a real dialogue with constituents, for example by using social media.

      It is clear that it is time to restore faith in UK politics after years of expenses scandals and broken promises. It is our view that a new voice is needed to do that.

    • Politics UK You took over the leadership of the Pirate Party from Andrew Robinson on August 2010. How have you settled in the role of leader of the Pirate Party UK?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK In the fast moving world of 21st century politics there is no time to feel settled! And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

      One of the main roles is to be the outside face of the party and communicate our message more widely. I had to hit the ground running during the end of 2010 as there was intense focus on Wikileaks. Due to our support for the project I ended up widely in the media including CNN and BBC. Since then, it has been a varied round of media, speaking at debates and rallies, writing on a range of issues.

      In terms of the party we’ve seen through putting together a good team to run things, had our first full party conference, launched a new content and look to the website, and set off a policy process to broaden and deepen our manifesto. Of course I’m pleased to have help to steer this, but it is a collective effort and I am hugely grateful for the tireless work of all involved in the party.

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK In any case, it has never been dull! Personally, I feel happier than I have ever done, even if I have never been so busy.

    • Politics UK The Pirate Party UK has three core policies. They are Privacy, Copyright & Patent Reform and Freedom of Speech.
      Does the Pirate Party believe that there is excessive surveillance, profiling, tracking and monitoring on individuals and how would you propose to change this?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK We are Europe’s most watched country, there is around one camera for every 14 people. CCTV has become ubiquitous, many of our towns and cities have a depressingly oppressive feel to them. And yet despite the claims, we are no safer. This summer’s riots show that CCTV simply does not have any significant deterrant effect.

      We would introduce law and guidelines on the acceptable use of CCTV, it must not become an excuse for unrestricted spying on the public.

      We want to put forward a whole raft of other measures to protect the individual in Britain: a full review of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), strengthen data protection and bringing in a right for citizens to encrypt their personal data and communication.

    • Politics UK How does the Pirate Party UK propose to ensure that individual have Free speech?
      18 December 2011 at 20:13 ·  ·  1

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK Freedom of speech is fundamental to taking part in democracy and being an informed citizen. Particularly with social media and blogging we now have the possibility to express ourselves as never before. But equally the right to speak out is under threat as never before.

      This is one of the reasons we are fundamentally opposed to site blocking, as it is not a tool that we should be handing to the state, whatever the intention might be.

      We would bring forward various measures. For example, we will introduce a new legal right to be a whistleblower exposing corrupt or illegal practices. Current legislation needs to be looked at too, for its impact on freedom of speech. We saw in the so-called Twitter joke trial how the Communications Act was used to hound Paul Chambers for a silly joke.

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK It is also about raising awareness and setting freedom of the speech on the political agenda. One of the few concrete ideas that David Cameron outlined in the Commons when he finally came back to the UK in response to the riots was to announce social media curbs. I pointed out at the time this had no basis in actual evidence and was a dangerous kneejerk reaction.

      MPs like Louise Mensch clearly interpreted this as support for blanket social media blocks, as she said it would be fine to turn Twitter off for an hour or two. Setting aside the technical and practical problems with this, we now have lawmakers in the UK who explicitly support censorship- and do so without bothering to check the facts.

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK Anyway Digital Economy Act...
      18 December 2011 at 20:17 ·  ·  1

    • Politics UK My fault Loz,
      What is the Pirate Party’s view on Digital Economy Act?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK 
      The Digital Economy act is a dangerous draconian piece of legislation. In short, in the name combatting online “piracy”, ISPs will be turned in to spies on what you are doing online. Sanctions are to warn downloaders, then throttle bandwidth and ultimately disconnect. This is an unacceptable disproportionate collective punishment as entire households can be thrown off the net. It has the potential to have a chilling effect on the provision of public WiFi.

      And for what? At no point has any independent evidence been offered to back the claims that it will help the creative industries.

      We are committed to the repeal of the parts of the act that threaten the free nature of the Internet.

      There are also provisions in the Act to allow site blocking, which we are also fundamentally opposed to. The government has indicated that it doesn’t intend to enact these sections. However, with current cases like BT being forced through an injunction to block Newzbin2, events have overtaken the coalition and left them powerless.

      Currently it is Hollywood dictating our digital rights policy, not Westminster and frankly this is a democratic scandal.

      As things stand OFCOM have said they expect the first letters to be sent out in Summer 2013. But this is not taking in to account further legal challenges, so it could well be 2014 before it is enacted- uncomfortably close to a 2015 General Election. Labour’s final poisonous gift to the people of Britain will in all probability enacted by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.

    • Politics UK How does the Pirate Party propose to reform copyright and patent law?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK It’s time for a commonsense adjustment to rebalance the needs of consumers, creators and companies in intellectual property law.

      We would reduce the duration of copyright to 10 years - reflecting the much greater ease with which works can now be made and distributed.

      Our 10 year copyright length will include within it a renewal after 5 years (allowing works in which the creator is no longer interested to fall into the public domain after 5 years). An exception will be made for software, where a 5 year term will apply to closed source software and a 10 year term to open source software.

      We will legalise use of copyright works where no money changes hands- so called “non commercial file sharing”.

      We will allow and encourage more competition in the manufacturing of patented devices by introducing a system of compulsory patent licensing, and we will provide exemptions to patent law for non-commercial use, personal study and academic research.

    • Politics UK How would you respond to the argument that that the proposal to reduce the duration of copyright to 10 years is too short?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK 
      Copyright has lost its purpose of encouraging creation and directly rewarding the creator. That the current law is not fit for purpose was explicitly acknowledged by Professor Hargreaves in the introduction to his review of copyright law produced this year. In other words- it’s not just us that sees a problem.

      Copyright terms extending 70 years after death is absurd in the digital age. It certainly isn’t going to make John Lennon write any more music. The incentive is for large companies to sit on back catalogues rather than to develop genuinely innovative new talent. Because the big players control so much of our recorded output it gives them an unfair anticompetitive stranglehold on any new services.

    • Politics UK Can you explain the loophole in the current copyright law that allows 'restarting the clock' and how does that affect the length of duration of copywritten material?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK 
      It’s a sneaky way of extending control yet further. It’s essentially restarting a copyright term by just shifting content to a new format or make tiny changes. We will ensure new copyrights are not created unless the new work represents a substantial change.

      Some of these issues may seem a bit dry and technical- the mechanics of politics often is. But intellectual property lies at the heart of all the issues that people care the most about - the economy, health and education.

    • Politics UK What is the Pirate Party’s view on DRM technology?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK 
      Digital rights management is essentially about restricting the usefulness of what you buy, so it is a huge consumer rights issue. DRM restricts the way you use works that you have purchased yourself. Also it forces you to use proprietary software which means you don't control what it does.

      This issue will become increasingly pressing with the spread of eBooks. There will be millions of Kindles under Christmas trees round the world this year. In particular DRM on eBooks has given Amazon a great tool for locking ebook customers into the Kindle platform. Currently the market share is at an alarming 80% this gives Amazon huge power to gouge profits, and squeeze authors.

      DRM means simple act of lending a book is turned in to an act of piracy. The new digital outlaws could well be mums with children's books on USBs at parent and toddler groups.

      We recognise the need to raise public awareness about the issue. We believe the public needs to be protected from products that can be remotely turned off by the manufacturer, products that 'phone home' and would therefore stop working if the manufacturer went bankrupt, or products that are 'region coded'. We will introduce a warning label on products that include DRM which will warn purchasers of the potential defects built into these products.

    • Politics UK After this question, we will have a 5 minute break and resume at 20.40

      How does the Pirate Party propose to stop the abuse of patent law?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK Tea break . Excellent. Anyway....

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK 
      In the current crisis, jobs, the economy and growth are uppermost everybody’s minds. Sadly innovation is being stifled as patent lawsuits are being filed not in the hope of actually developing useful ideas, but rather to earn money from the lawsuits themselves.

      We will stop the abuse of patent law by raising the bar on how innovative an idea has to be before it can be patented, and by prohibiting patents on software, business methods, concepts and works of nature. We will also require a working model be provided to the patent office before a patent is granted, to put the focus on to production, rather than legal processes.

    • Politics UK Welcome back.
      Onto the next question.
      What is the Pirates Party view on drug patents and how would your policy improve the availability of drugs?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK As a nation we can no longer afford to subsidise the profits of pharmaceutical companies via the NHS. Every time you hear about a drug that the NHS can’t afford ask yourself who is making the profit.

      We will abolish drug patents, which will reduce drug costs drastically, since all drugs will become generic. This will save the NHS vast sums of money; part of that saving will then be used to subsidise drug research. The pharmaceutical industry currently spends around 15% of its patent drug income on research; we will replace that with subsidies to the value of 20%, increasing research budgets, while still saving the NHS money.

    • Politics UK What aspects of your manifesto are most important to the Pirate Party?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK I think it’s fair to say that the key priorities at the moment are site-blocking and the Digital Economy Act as they are the most pressing threats.

      Purely personally though, I would say our commitment to defend freedom of speech, as everything else flows from this.

    • Politics UK What is the difference between the Pirate Party’s UK and Scottish manifesto?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK The Scottish manifesto and campaigns are first and foremost a matter for Scottish members. The political lanscape in Scotland is very different, and in my opinion, in many ways much healthier.

      Much of the differences are the focus on specific Scottish issues - such as concerns about centralised databases tied to National Entitlement Cards and pushing for the adoption of the recommendations in the Royal Society of Edinburgh's 'Digital Scotland Report' to upgrade Scotland’s digital infrastructure. However the core principle is very much the same, as it is for the Pirate Party movement internationally too.

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK lanscape? landscape!

    • Politics UK The Pirate Party pledges to ensure that the Internet remains neutral and open. How would you go about this?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK We have pledged to legislate in favour of net neutrality.
      There are already examples of best practice in terms of this kind of law from the Netherlands for example.

      In certain quarters there has been resistance to this idea, chiefly expressed as it would be regulation that would hamper business. In fact the reverse is true, we are seeking to maintain a level playing field for all on the Internet, so big companies can not stifle startups and the exchange of information.

    • Politics UK Who are the Pirate Party’s core supporters?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK 
      Not surprisingly, much of our core support is people with computing and engineering background. Far from being the “freetards” as it is so offensively put, these are the people that are actually delivering you the Internet as you know it. That is why it’s worth listening to them when they say that we risk damaging the free and open nature of the web with heavy handed legislation.

      Even so we are also DJs, ex forces, students, lecturers, council workers. My background is as a composer and musician- so I know at first hand that current intellectual property law is very far from being about supporting individual artists.

      I am particularly proud of the role that young people play in our party. I am sick to death of terms like “feral youth”. In education having high expectations is key. If we keep telling our young people they are disfunctional and they are to be excluded from public spaces and life, they will live up to those expectations.

    • Politics UK What side of the political spectrum do you see your party on?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK 
      We are not a party of the left or right. For us the important starting point is facts, not a little red, orange or blue book. The political landscape we have now means that so many of the 20th century ideas about the left/right spectrum are no longer relevant. To us the authoritarian/libertarian part of the political compass is as important, with us tending to the libertarian.

      This may sound a bit glib, but it’s actually hugely practical because it allows us to seek influence wherever it is most useful. I can write for Lib Dem voice without having to be a big L liberal. I can talk to the digital policy coordinator from the Tax Payers Alliance about getting the Tories to see the importance of digital rights, unhampered by the typical left wing “the TPA are all evil” point of view. Even though some of our interests might be classed as classically left wing.

    • Politics UK How many candidates do you hope to field in the next couple of years and which constituencies will you primarily be aiming for?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK Our current candidate pool is 20, double the numbers we have had before.

      We continue to seek new candidates, so now is a great time to join in and put yourself forward. If you are independent minded, interested in politics and think real change is necessary we are the right place for you.

    • Politics UK Who are your political inspirations?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK 
      I think it was interesting that Time’s person of the year was the protester. In the networked world, the actions of the many rather than the few are becoming increasingly important. My inspiration is any ordinary person that stands up and refuses to accept that this is as good as it gets. That refuses to accept that politics is irretrievably broken, so it’s not worth getting involved.

      Having said that, I continue to be inspired by Rick Falkvinge, the Pirate Party movement’s founder and “political evangelist”. I think many of us at PP-UK’s conference this year were moved and fired up by his keynote speech. He continues to articulate well the ideas of our worldwide movement. You can find him on Facebook too.

    • Politics UK The Final Question: Where do you see your party in 6 months, a year 3 years and after the next General Elections?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK In 6 months we will have fought council elections on a new broader manifesto, demonstrating what we have to offer on a local level as well as our national ideas.

      In a year we will have learnt the lessons from May 2012 elections so activists on the ground will be ready to fight the next set of elections. We will have increased our profile yet further. We will have fielded at least one candidate for the police commissioner elections so the electorate will have a chance to vote for someone putting civil liberties and accountability on the agenda.

      Three years is interesting. As things stand the Digtal Economy Act will be enacted, I suspect in early 2014 allowing for final legal wrangling. We will be pointing out that despite good intentions, the Liberal Democrats will have proved themselves impotent on digital rights, just as they have been impotent on tuition fees and Europe.

      After the General Election digital rights will be firmly part of the mainstream political agenda and something that moves votes. We will have fielded more candidates than GE 2010, with better experienced teams.

      All this said, all of this is up to the party. We regularly reelect our National Executive Committee so all members have a say. I think this is only healthy, and reflects the way the rest of the “real world” works.

    • Politics UK PoliticsUK wish to thank Mr Kaye and wish him and his party good fortune in the future.
      If you are interested in joining the Pirate Party or wish to read their manifesto visit
      or the Pirate Party's Facebook Page
      You can also follow The Pirate Party on twitter at @PiratePartyUK. And you can join in at the Pirate Party's forum at

      We will now open the floor to our users. Please read
      Question and Answers Netiquette and normal posting rules apply.
      We stand for Digital Rights, Civil Liberties and a politics fit for the 21st Cen...See more
      18 December 2011 at 21:08 ·  · 

    • Jack Mcnally What is your opinion on hate speech laws?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK Thanks. I've enjoyed this. Politics Uk is a great community politics initiative, so keep up the good work all who are involved.

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK Thanks for the question Jack.

    • Alan Wyllie Can I personally thank Mr Kaye. I have been aware of the Pirate Party since its inception. I used to "lurch" on their forums right at the beginning. Tonight has been very exciting for me!!

      Thank you Loz, and Harry P who set this interview up.

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK I believe we actually hand a victory to extremists if we curtail freedom of speech in the name of equality. A good example this year was the blanket ban in several London boroughs to try and deal with the EDL. It had a worrying knock on effect on a number of other entirely legitimate protests

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK And this comes from someone who has confronted Nick Griffin with a megaphone.

    • Politics UK We have a question from Taylor Ch, Mr Kaye.

      What parties will you work with to gain consensus?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK As I said, we are not hampered by being left or right, so we will seek influence wherever is most productive. One of the big problems is that while the major parties have individual champions, none have a consistent line on digital rights in practice.

    • Politics UK Due to time issue on my side, this is the final question.
      It's from Conster Last:
      What is your opinion on What is your opinion on SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act)?

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK Currently the Labour party officially seems furthest from us with its views on civil liberties and the Internet. This is despite individuals I get on well with like Eric Joyce MP. Their attitude seems odd, surely tackling the digital divide is going to be an increasingly important part of dealing with social and economic exclusion.

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK SOPA. The short answer is it's like the Digtial Economy Act on steroids.
      18 December 2011 at 21:27 ·  ·  6

    • Politics UK With that we will wrap up this interview.

      Thanks again to Mr Loz Kaye, and we all wish him all the best for the future.


    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK It shows an extraordinary, and frankly typical, arrogance from the US that they are entitled to interfere in websites whereever they are hosted. The lack of expert input to the legislation has been acknowledged and is staggering. The haste at which it is being pushed through is worrying. And it is a warning to us all.

    • Adam Penny Sorry, I know time has been called, but I'd be very interested in an answer to the following if you still have time...

      Just a follow up relating to shortening copyright to 10 years only. You've justified it as far as the extension beyond t...See more

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK Thanks Adam and I'm happy to address this.

    • Loz Kaye - Pirate Party UK 
      The key point is that the artist doesn't give up rights to use the work after 10 years. In fact the reverse is true. In the dry technical sense it just means the licensing expires. For many artists this will be the point where we regain control over our artworks. Because the rights holder is not necessarily the same as the artist. For many of us who work in the creative industries IP has become a method of control, rather than reward.

    • Politics UK ‎********Thread Close*******

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