Now this is interesting…

The Pirate Party
Image via Wikipedia

Apparently the Pirate party of Sweden decided to take thing one step further and has announced the world’s first Pirate ISP which will be focused on protecting their user’s privacy and take the MAFIAA and the rest of the gang head on. I assume it’s going to be protected via the governmental immunity the parliamentary members have so it’s going to be much more difficult to shut down, although the US copyright industry will definitely focus all their political muscle in order to nip this in the bud. Remember how they managed to have the Swedish authorities raid the Pirate Bay Offices even though they were legal under Swedish law.

I find this a very good example of turning the state’s weapons against it, but ultimately I don’t know how successful it will be (but naturally I hope to be proven wrong). Of course this doesn’t mean that “The system works” since they’re in effect trying to combat the system in the first place. No. Rather what is happening is that they’ve found a loophole in the system which allows them to use it in a way the ruling elite didn’t plan to. This is a very good way to use the system actually but the problem is ultimately that the power still relies on the ruling elite. And when the new material circumstances make previous rules work against them, then they will make sure that the previous rules are modified enough to suit their interests.

At the moment, I can foresee a few ways they are going to go around shutting this down or neutering it

  • Change the law to make this illegal. Perhaps they will disallow parliament to be involved in business. Perhaps they will stop political immunity from affecting businesses run from parliamentary members. Sure, this may harm the already established interests but given how much the IP lobby (and remember, the US is practically surviving on IP at the moment) is set to loose if this idea starts to spread to other countries, they might be willing to compensate those who will be harmed by new laws handsomely, so that this particular tactic becomes impossible. Certainly the parliamentary members might try to fight this on constitutional grounds but seeing as how easy it was to find biased judges to oversee the Pirate Bay case, and how important this decision will be, this is certainly going to be stacked against the small amount of people behind the Pirate party.
  • Create a moral panic about child porn. Someone (planted or not) is going to start sharing child porn through the Pirate ISP which will then force the pirate party in a very precarious political decision. Either it will be seen as supporting or covering child porn and other nasty stuff, or the Pirate Party will have to start keeping logs and other tracking measures, which can then be used by law enforcement to track down file sharers. Perhaps they will attempt to provide the info only for child porn and not for piracy, but that’s how it always starts anyway.
  • Disconnect the Pirate ISP from the Internet. I don’t know how possible this is, but it could be possible that the anti-pirate outfits as well as the USA and its nation-bitches will attempt to block any connection coming from the IPs assigned to the Pirate ISP. This would not require a legal precedent but it will require a lot of logistics and coordination of many nations, which might in turn make in unrealistic or simply impossible given the distributed nature of the net. This means that the US could by itself try to protect its IP interests by blocking its own people from accessing the Pirate ISP addresses but what they’re most interested in – extracting the wealth from the developing nations though IP – will be severely harmed as the poor people will simply route via the Pirate ISP for the piracy fix.
  • Try to muscle Sweden into compliance via Trade Sanctions. They WTO might allow others to embargo Sweden in order to put them into a very bad imports/exports situation, therefore creating civil unrest and hopefully blaming this on the Pirate Party and their ISP and attempt to kick them out of parliament.

I can see the second point being used in conjunction with the first point for the most effect. If those two fail, it will be the 3rd and 4th one, as they do not require the compliance of the Swedish people. Whatever happens though, once again the system will have to reveal its true nature (protecting the plutocracy at the expense of the will of the people) and will once again show how using the state’s tools cannot work if it’s creating too many headaches for the ruling elite.

Of course, I might be wrong and the Pirate ISP will be a success, nothing will be able to take it down and in one fell swoop, Sweden will be liberate file-sharing,  which will in turn trigger a chain reaction in the other nations and their own Pirate Parties. But given how much is at stake here, I truly believe we’ll see all the weapons against harmful reformism come into play. It will be interesting to watch, no doubt.