[this is a copy of US national platform, for Maryland it will be up for amendment and then adoption]
Putting People Before Corporations
The Supreme Court and Congress have expanded the power of corporations for over a hundred years and made them more powerful than people. Whether it is the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that allows corporations to buy elections, or Congress’ cuts in corporate tax rates while raising payroll taxes, real people end up with the short end of the stick. The Pirate Party will make sure our laws put people before corporations.
Opening up Government
In order for citizens to control their democratic destiny, we need to know what our government is doing and which special interests are influencing our public elected officials. Increasingly government officials ignore open meeting laws, make deals favorable to corporations behind closed doors and sell off your public information to private interests. Some state laws prevent people from recording public officials in their duties, such as a police officer making an arrest, but the police cameras can record your actions without your permission. The Pirate Party will make sure that our government is transparent and accountable to the people.
Defending Your Privacy
Whether it was the PATRIOT ACT, illegal NSA wiretapping or local surveillance cameras, our government has used 9/11 to increase its surveillance and control over us. Corporations have increased their spying on employees in order to get more work out of them. The arguments for each step on the road to a surveillance state may sound convincing, but that road leads to less control by people and more by government and corporate elites. Terrorists may attack the open society, but only governments can abolish it. The Pirate Party will prevent that from happening.
Promoting Culture & Knowledge Through Copyright Reform
The Founding Fathers created our copyright laws to promote knowledge & culture by giving the creator a limited monopoly over their creations. Congress, under the influence of corporations, has extended the duration of that government granted monopoly to seventy years after the death of the creator. Increasingly corporations have sought broader laws to ensure that they control and profit from more of our culture. Through Digital Rights Management (DRM) technologies they have locked down our culture, hindered sharing and criminalized their customers.
The Pirate Party will:
- limit the copyright to five years for electronic media and fourteen years for tangible objects,
- make sure that all non-commercial copying, sharing and remixing are legal and
- ban DRM software.
There is no reason for copyright to continue until 70 years after death.
Everyone must have equal access to the internet, and the Pirate Party will foster network neutrality so that internet service providers cannot give preferential treatment to preferred web sites and we oppose three strikes laws that ban anyone from using the internet because of copyright violations. The internet has the potential to be a new Library of Alexandria, if we don’t let corporations and government lock it down.
Supporting Net Neutrality
Net Neutrality is the internet’s guiding principle: It preserves our right to communicate freely online. Net Neutrality means an internet that enables and protects free speech. It means that ISPs should provide us with open networks, and shouldn’t block or discriminate against any applications or content that ride over those networks. Just as your phone company shouldn’t decide who you call and what you say on that call, your ISP shouldn’t interfere with the content you view or post online. Without Net Neutrality, cable and phone companies could carve the internet into fast and slow lanes. An ISP could slow down its competitors’ content or block political opinions it disagreed with. ISPs could charge extra fees to the few content companies that could afford to pay for preferential treatment, relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service. This would destroy the open internet.
Supporting Aaron’s Law
Representative Zoe Lofgren has introduced what’s been named “Aaron’s Law.” It would fix a key part of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), which is one of the statutes under which Aaron Swartz was indicted. The CFAA makes violations of a website’s terms of service agreement or user agreement a felony, potentially punishable by many years in prison. Aaron’s Law would decriminalize violating these agreements, allowing disputes about them to be settled in civil courts rather than in criminal trials with potential sentences of decades of prison time.
Fostering Innovation by Abolishing Patents
We seek the abolition of patents. The patent system stifles innovation by making it difficult to incorporate an existing invention into a new one. It discourages researchers from sharing their new ideas until after a patent application. It prevents hundreds of thousands of people in poor countries from receiving the drugs they need. Currently pharmaceutical companies spend only 15% of their revenue on new drug research. The remaining 85% is spent on activities such as marketing and profit taking. A reformed system would dramatically increase the money available for innovation, while removing the obstacles to innovation posed by the current patent system.
Positions on Other Issues
The scope of the Pirate Party was originally limited to a few core issues. However now the United States Pirate Party, in common with many other Pirate Parties, is drafting policies on a variety of different issues. We need your help in deciding positions on every policy that matters to US voters. Please attend a PNC meeting to see how you can join our Platform Committee.