Prominent German Pirate Party board member Julia Schramm has a vision for a utopian Internet: a "huge library" where "the knowledge and stories of all people are united, collected and archived" free of charge and free of "disgusting" intellectual property. It would have just one notable omission: Schramm's own book, Click Me: Confessions of an Internet Exhibitionist. Anyone trying to download the book would run into this dead-end: "This file is no longer available due to a takedown request under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by Julia Schramm Autorin der Verlagsgruppe Random House."
The German Pirate Party's political platform rests on "free data exchange," but Schramm and her publisher are targeting pirated copies for removal from file-sharing sites according to Der Spiegel. Dubbed the "glamor girl pirate," Schramm is one of those figures the German media loves to hate, and they're having a blast with this bit of piracy schadenfreude. Der Spiegel ran the snarky headline "Information Mustn't Be Free" for the story, and elsewhere they referred to her book as a "torrent of platitudes" (we're not sure if the pun was intended or produced by Google Translate). The Berliner Morgenpost is even harsher. "Julia Schramm expresses some silly thoughts over the Internet ... and manages to 169 pages not to formulate a single original thought."
A few years ago, this might've been just a funny gaffe by a fringy radical, but the Pirate Party have actually obtained a measure of power over the last few years. They started in 2006 as a tiny Swedish party tenuously affiliated with file-sharing site The Pirate Bay. But since then, copycat parties have cropped up throughout Europe and gained influential seats in state parliaments such as Berlin, where Schramm lives. It may sound silly to say this about pot-smoking computer nerds who think electoral victories are "cool," but perhaps Pirate Party politicians like Julia Schramm need to be held more accountable for their own platforms.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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