The Pirate Bay Issue - English Translation

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Demonstration speech. Pics!

This speech was held by Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge during the Stockholm demonstration on June 3rd.

*** *** *** Translation
Friends, citizens, pirates:

There is nothing new under the sun.

My name is Rickard Falkvinge, and I'm the leader of the Pirate Party.

During the last week, we've seen several examples of legal outrages. We've seen the police abusing the measures available to them [the DNA test]. We've seen the actions of the entertainment industry. We've seen high-profile politicians mobilizing in order to protect the entertainment industry.

All of this is scandalous without parallel. That is why we stand here today.

The entertainment industry wants to convince us it's all about payment solutions, about the way a certain group of workers will be payed. That it's about their diminishing sales figures, about dry statistics. It's a pretext. It's about something entirely different.

To understand today's situation in the light of history, we need to go 400 years back, back to when the church had a monopoly on culture and knowledge. What the church said, went. Pyramid communication. There is one person at the top, talking to a number of others down a pyramid. The culture and knowledge had a source, and that source was the church.

And may God have mercy on the one who dared to challenge the churche's monopoly on culture and knowledge! They were subjected to the most horrible legal abuse conceivable, at the time. Under no circumstances did the church allow the citizens to spread information on their own, they governed the whole law enforcement; prevention, punishment and harassment.

There is nothing new under the sun.

Today, we know the only right thing for the evolution of society was to let the knowledge go free. That Galileo Galilei was right. Even if he was infringing on the knowledge monopoly.

We're talking about a time when the church went out in full force, promoting the idea that citizens didn't have to learn to read and write, since the priest would tell them everything they needed to know anyway. The church knew what it would mean if they lost their control.

Along came the printing press.

Suddenly, there was not only one source of knowledge to listen to, but several. The citizens - who had started to learn to read - could take part of unsanctioned knowledge. The church was furious. The royal families were furious. The British royal family even went so far as to forging a law that said only printers specially approved by the royal family were allowed to print books, multiply knowledge and culture for the citizens.

That law was called "copyright".

Then, a couple of hundred years passed by, and the freedom of the press was created. But everywhere, the same old model of communication still existed: one person talking to the many. There were different people to listen to, but everywhere, one person talking to the many. This was used by the state in introducing a system of a "liable publisher".

The citizens will indeed be able to take part of knowledge, but there will always be someone to answer if they - oh, horrible thought - take part of the wrong knowledge.

And this is what is changing in the foundation today. Because the Internet no longer abides by this model. We no longer simply download culture and knowledge. We upload at the same time too, to others [like I do! Yay!]. We share files. Knowledge and culture have, amazingly, lost its central point of control.

This is the central point of my whole address, so I'm going to go into it in deeper detail:

Downloading is the old mass medium model where this is a central control point, a control point with a responsible publisher liable, with the risk of their press subsidy being revoked and so on and so forth, where everyone can download knowledge and culture from the central point of control, that can give and take away rights as they see fit.

Culture and knowledy monopoly. Control.

File sharing constitutes simultaneous up- and downloading from every connected person, and completely lacks central control; it's a situation where all culture and information organically flows between millions of different people at the same time. Fundamentally different. This is something competely new in the history of human communication. There is no longer anyone to hold responsible if the wrong knowledge is spread.

That is why the companies talk so much about legal downloads. Legal. Downloads. Because they are trying to make the only legal thing to be fetching from the central point under their control. Downloading, not file sharing.

And this is exactly why we are going to change the law.

During the last week, we've seen how far a player is prepared to go to prevent loss of control. We saw the constitution being violated. We saw how forced measures [poor translation; it refers to the DNA sample] and restrictions of personal integrity were used by the police, not for fighting crime, but for the obvious purpose of harassing the ones involved and everyone who have been anywhere near them.

There is nothing new under the sun, and history always repeats itself. This isn't about compensation for a certain group of workers. This is about control over culture and knowledge, because he who controls them, controls the world.

The entertainment industry has tried to shame us, telling us what we're doing is illegal, that we're pirates. They're trying to push us down under some rock. Look around you today - see how they've failed. Yes, we're pirates. But one who thinks being a pirate is a shame is mistaken. It's something we're proud of.

Because we've already seen what it means to be without central control. We've already tasted, felt and smelled the freedom of being without a central monopoly of culture and knowledge. We've already learnt to read and write.

And we're not about to forget how to read and write, just because it's not fit in the eyes of the media of the yesteryear.

*** *** *** End translation

Damn, his speeches and texts are always hard to translate.. I'm pretty damn exhausted from hanging out with my little brother all day, too. I keep messing the words up.. So, the rule about assuming what makes sense is even more important when reading this one.. :)

Right, I promised pictures!
There are lots of them here, and some of them here. Also, make sure you check out this picture (rffu!).

Addition: There are a couple of other translations of this speech, located here and here. I haven't checked them out properly, but if something in my translation seems sketchy, look it up there. Or read it all there.


  • Someone's also put some pictures up onto flickr, complete with translated banners!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:17 PM  

  • Thanks very much for translating all of this - it's nice to be able to know exactly what's happening right now. Keep up the good work! :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:50 AM  

  • Nice speech and good choice of words. You guys are awesome

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:19 PM  

  • Great translation, I¨ve got information what I seeked. DO IT again, 8-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:12 AM  

  • Great speech, thanks for sharing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:38 PM  

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