In 2006, Swedish entrepreneur Rick Falkvinge published the manifesto for the Pirate Party online and helped create a global movement, one that sought to reevaluate the concept of intellectual property and copyright in the age of the internet.
Like or loathe his ideas, there's no doubt that Falkvinge is an interesting, intelligent guy — Business Insider spoke to him about the Pirate Party movement last year (he hasn't been officially involved since the start of 2011) and he gave a good interview. However, a recent article published on Falkvinge's widely-read personal blog has resulted in a big wave of controversy and negative comments from the very political community he created.
Titled "Three Reasons Possession Of Child Porn Must Be Re-Legalized In The Coming Decade", the article discusses child pornography. Falkvinge's key argument is that the current laws prohibiting child pornography actually end up helping to hide child molesters, and that the act of possessing a recording of a crime should not itself be considered a crime.
Perhaps Falkvinge's intentions are noble, but his argument is certainly hard to follow at points — witness the confusing hypothetical point about accidentally recording child abuse while wearing a pair of Google Glasses:
So, on your lovely stroll in the park, you turn a corner, and to your shock, see a 12-year-old being brutally raped right in front of you.
WHAM. You are now a criminal, guilty of recording, distributing, and possessing child pornography. You are now guilty of a crime that carries higher penalties than the rape and molestation of a child right taking place right in front of you.
The article now has 285 comments — some positive, but many negative — and Falkvinge has offered a number of updates and clarifications to his argument.
Members of the Pirate Party community are now moving to distance themselves from Falkvinge. The leader of the German Pirate Party, Bernd Schlömer, told a German newspaper that Falkvinge must be "tangled up in his own thinking". Another Berlin Pirate said that Falkvinge could no longer be considered a serious political activist after the article.
That German Pirate Party members are making these comments doesn't bode well for Falkvinge's position in the party. The German organization has proven itself to be the most successful of parties, with some polls last year showing them with approval ratings of 10% nationally.
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