There’s a new party in Germany. They call themselves the “Pirate Party”, and they’re a loose conglomerate of people well left of the already pretty left-of-center mainstream Social Democrats: anti-Capitalism, anti-establishment, anti-soap-and-deodorant, the usual coffee house anarchists.
One of the platforms of the Pirate Party is that “information should be free.” They advocate unrestricted Internet sharing of books, music, movies, and whatever else can be uploaded to a file-sharing server, without any regard for copyright or intellectual property. One of the members of the Pirate Party’s executive committee, a 26-year-old named Julia Schramm, even called the idea of intellectual property “disgusting.”
Here’s where it gets really hilarious. Said Julia Schramm just landed a book deal with Albrecht Knaus, a German publisher owned by Random House. She netted a 100,000 euro advance for her anti-capitalist book “Click Me”. Some people uploaded the PDF version of the book to a file-sharing server and spread the link around via Twitter and Facebook, along with info about the Pirate Party’s stance on “free information”.
There’s a saying in German that goes something like, “Preaching water and drinking wine.” It’s pretty amazing how often a politician’s bedrock philosophies only apply to other people, and are conveniently forgotten when one’s own ox is in line for goring. (And no, it’s not just those on the left of the political spectrum.)