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Pirate Party unveils its election manifesto

File sharing isn't the only issue at stake for the newly formed party.

Pirate Party logo

The Pirate Party is neither right nor left, won't fiddle with expenses and will listen to citizens as it doesn't have all the answers - and it'd quite like file sharing not to be criminalised, too.

That's the message from the ambitious first election manifesto for the new party, as it gets set to take on Labour, the Conservatives and the rest in a campaign that looks set to have a heavy tech focus.

The Pirate Party manifesto focuses on three areas: copyright and patent law, privacy law, and freedom of speech.

Right to file share

For copyright, it wants to create a right to "format shift" - such as move materials on CDs to iPods - as well as record for later use and, of course, share files.

It would also cut copyright terms from 70 years to 10, improve patent law, especially with pharmaceuticals, and put labels on products to warn if they include the "defect" of digital rights management (DRM).

"We believe that patents exist to reward the inventors of truly outstanding ideas, not to allow big businesses to stifle competition with an ever-growing tide of trivial, incomprehensible, overreaching patents," the manifesto promises.

Privacy

The Pirate Party also looks to ban the monitoring of communications by a third party - think Phorm as well as Labour's attempts to gather browsing session data.

It wants to end "compulsory" ID cards as well as regulate the associated database, in wording perhaps less tough on the controversial cards than the Tories, who have pledged to ditch the scheme.

The party would toughen data protection laws, introducing compensation for those hit by data breaches.

It would also seek to control the use of CCTV and DNA records, and make the Government more accountable, saying the "right to privacy will be secondary to the public right to hold them to account for their actions."

Internet

Under the umbrella of "freedom of speech," the party lumps in its focus on net neutrality as well as protection for whistleblowers and photographers, and better computing education in schools.

Rather than promise hard-to-deliver superfast broadband like its rival parties, the Pirate Party opts to get connections to rural areas and to ensure people get what they pay for.

"We will solve the problem of false and misleading advertising of internet speeds by giving customers a new right to pay only for the fraction of the claimed broadband speed that the provider actually delivers, so if you sign up for an 8Mbps connection and only receive 2Mbps, you would only have to pay a quarter of the agreed price," the manifesto says.

The full manifesto is available here.

Read on to find out how the Pirate Party sees its chances.

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