In this installment, members of the Swedish Young Pirates Association (a branch of the Swedish Pirate Party — yes, illegal downloaders have a political party in Sweden . . .) were ejected from a Swedish festival for the crime of giving away free waffles. It seems that people selling waffles at the festival were annoyed by the idea that the Pirates might want to “share” waffles. And in getting themselves kicked out of the festival, the Pirates made their point:
“The waffle makers at this festival obviously viewed these youth (not of their social group) who were giving out free waffles as a social problem, for which security guards could be involved, and not a business problem, which would be their own failure.
The parallels to file-sharing are strong and present. If you can’t compete with the “free” that file-sharing offers, you can’t compete, period… but distribution executives around the world in monopolized copyright industries are trying to portray file sharing as a social disturbance to be dealt with forcefully, rather than a business failure.
In this, copyright industry lawyers and executives are no different from the sorry waffle sellers at this local festival who tried to get a political youth organization evicted for giving waffles to the festival visitors.”
Well . . . it’s a bit different. The Pirates were selling their own waffles, and not waffles originally created by The Big Waffle Companies that they’d digitally reproduced. Actually, that last sentence points out the danger of analogies — they are always imprecise. In any event, the broader point stands. We can view online filesharing as a social problem, or as a business problem. It’s our choice.