Founded in 2009 and officially registered in 2010, the Pirate Party of Canada strives to reform Canadian information laws to meet the needs of the new century.

Copyright & Access to Culture

Copyright: CC BY-SA courtesy of Joshua GajownikWhat’s wrong? The internet is the most important development in the free exchange of ideas since the invention of the printing press, yet copyright laws remain in the 18th century, preventing the internet from living up to its full potential as a medium for the exchange of art and information.

What can we do about it? We want to adjust copyright to meet the needs of artists first, consumers second, and big business third. We’ll shorten copyright terms and reduce their scope to prohibit commercial copying only. Doing so will return to the original purpose of copyright: to protect the ability of an artist to make a living rather than to grant exclusive “ownership” of an idea for life. Ideas are too valuable to treat as commodities, and are at their best when shared.

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Copyright: CC0 1.0 & KopimiWhat’s wrong? Modern technology makes it trivially easy to track and monitor all aspects of your life, and the regulations that should protect you from unwanted surveillance are inadequate to the needs of the 21st century.

What can we do about it? We want to extend privacy laws to provide the same protections to all of our digital data that already exist today for non-digital items such as conventional mail. Furthermore, we will strengthen prohibitions on information collected for one stated purpose by one organization being shared with and used by another, even between government departments. Dystopic societies arise not just from the volume of data collected, but the way in which that data is combined and used.

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Patent Law

What’s wrong? Patents are intended to encourage innovation by granting the owner a temporary monopoly on the use of a particular work in order to give them a chance to bring the product to market before it is snapped up by competitors. However, today patent law is used as a tool for big businesses to crowd out competition, undermining both the purpose and the common interest of patent law.

What can we do about it? We want to shorten patent terms, increase the onus of originality required for granting a patent, and completely eliminate patents in the following areas: software, pharmaceuticals, business models, genes, and life forms. By doing so, we’ll ensure that patent law meets the purpose of enhancing competition while protecting those working to bring an original product to market.

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Net Neutrality

Copyright: CC BY-SA 2.5 courtesy of Tim Kloske, Chris Martin, Tango Project, Mikkel PaulsonWhat’s wrong? In recent years, several Canadian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have started slowing down certain types of data sent to and received from the Internet by their private customers, supposedly in order to prevent overloading their networks. However, there is little evidence available which proves that this is actually the case and that ISPs are not simply degrading performance to prevent competition. For example, a telephone company could reduce the quality of Skype calls over their DSL lines.

What can we do about it? We want to enact legislation requiring all internet service providers to offer the same level of service for all applications and Internet services, without discrimination. In other words, we want to ensure that customers get exactly the service they pay for, without exceptions or special limitations on specific services like P2P applications.

Open Government & Open Access

Copyright: CC0 1.0 & KopimiWhat’s wrong? In the course of its daily operations, the Canadian government collects and produces large amounts of valuable data. Unfortunately this information is rarely accessible to the public, even though it has been paid for with your money.

What can we do about it? We see it as our goal to ensure that the government works for its citizens and not vice-versa. The government’s actions and the data it produces must be made publicly available to Canadians wherever possible, using standardized, open and vendor-neutral data formats. We also want to ensure that all research funded by taxpayer money is made available to the public, thereby ensuring the principles of open access. This will help maintain Canada’s cultural and scientific heritage by ensuring equal access to these values for everyone in our society.

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