Young Pirates in Poland: The CopyCamp in Warsaw

What do potato pancakes and copyright have in common? This and many more questions have been discussed at the CopyCamp in Warsaw, which took place last week. Our MEP Julia as well as Young Pirates from Austria, Belarus and Sweden were attending the 3rd annual conference about Copyright and its implications for society.

From left to right: Icelandic Pirate Birgitta Jonsdottir, our President and MEP Julia Reda, Zbigniew Lukasiak and sci-fi author Cory Doctorow.
From left to right: Icelandic Pirate Birgitta Jonsdottir, our President and MEP Julia Reda, Zbigniew Lukasiak and sci-fi author Cory Doctorow.

The conference was taking place at a cinema and was offering two days packed with interesting talks by people like science fiction author Cory Doctorow, Islandic Pirate and poet Birgitta Jonsdottir and many others, such as representatives from Google, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and of course local Polish experts in the field.

Swedish Young Pirates, exhausted after an awesome weekend
Swedish Young Pirates, exhausted after an awesome weekend

In between the talks there was time to discuss with the speakers as well as the other participants and to get to know each other over a cup of coffee.

On Friday, the closing session was held by Belarussian Young Pirate Mikhail, who was talking about Falansters work and how he envisions a Copyright that’s as easy to understand as the recipe for Belarussian potato pancakes.

Besides the official schedule we grabbed the chance to get to know Warsaw a bit and had some group activities such as getting fined by the police for touching a rainbow.

An EPIC meeting of the Young Pirates of Europe, or: A trip to Brussels

This travel report was originally published in Belarusian on the homepage of the Pirate Center Belarus.

About a year ago, a number of organisations from all over Europe founded the Young Pirates of Europe, with the main goals of sharing the core pirate platform: Copyright reform, free access to information and education, protection of human rights, and the the union of pirates’ youth.

During the year, new contacts were built among pirates from different European countries: We have been discovering each others ideas and experiences.

This year’s EPIC meeting was held in Brussels, where Julia Reda is now working as member of the European Parliament. She has been chairwoman of YPE in the previous year and became a President of organisation this year.

September, 19

There was a tour through the European parliament. Officially, the parliament covers travel costs (but only for citizen of European Union), which was one of the reasons why EPIC took place in Brussels. Finally, I, as Belarusian Pirate, got inside with others.


The building of the European Parliament looks like a spaceship. So aseptic. Ideal from the one side. Like a building of big corporations it has its own ecosystem and networking.

Face control, id and passport check and then only about an hour in a room with presentation about the Parliament’s workflows. After that, Julia Reda spoke about her field of work – the hot topic today is copyright reform.

After lunch, it was time for the EPIC itself in one of the rooms inside the parliament. There were delegates from eleven countries: Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, France and the Czech Republic.



Some words about the EPIC agenda and what happened:

  • New members were accepted: Austria and the Czech Republic.
  • Then it was voting to stop YPE activity in Sweden, because there were problems with bank account opening, and reopen YPE in Belgium.

Accepted: 9 votes – pros, 1 – cons.

  • Just for fun the next voting was to rename “Treasurer” to “Master/Mistress of Coin”.

Accepted: 8 – pros, 1 – cons, 1 – abstain.

  • But after that motion to rename “Treasurer” back was added suddenly. Rejected.
  • Voting on renaming “Chairperson” to “President”. The last word has no gender what makes it easy to use everywhere.

Accepted: 9 – pros, 1 – abstain.

  • A motion to allow Board members make changes to Statutes, if so requested by authorities for organization registration. It can be not transparent issue if not to separate correctly such formal changes and all the other changes.

Accepted: 7 – pros, 1 – cons, 2 – abstain.

  • Another motion – possibility for delegates to change Statutes on-line between General Assemblies, if it is needed.

Accepted: 10 votes – pros.

Accepted: 9 votes – pros, 1 – abstain.

Then there were reports from auditors and board members. Only Julia Reda and Lukas Martini from ex-board attended the meeting. They told about board activity during the last year.

  • Voting on new board and auditors.

You can find details in the official report.

President: Julia Reda (Germany). General secretary: Lukas Martini (Germany). Master of Coin: Robrecht Colson (Belgium). Board members: Sviatlana Yermakovich (Belarus), Bernhard Hayden (Austria), Arnaldur Sigurdarson (Iseland), Saara Siintola (Finland). Auditors: Florian Zumkeller-Quast (Germany) and Juliana Okropiridse (Austria).


Finally the official part of YPE agenda was over. Networking process was continued inda HackerSpace.

September, 20

The main planned activity for a day was offered by Julia Reda and supported by the others: visit “Atomium” monument to make photos with it and upload to Internet. It was a hack for fun against “freedom of panorama” ban in Belgium (there are also such ban in law in Belarus, France..). So to get real pleasure you needed to upload photos somewhere on the Internet and got them deleted.


As there were no exact plan everybody did what he or she wanted. As for me, I tried to find common points for pirates deals with young pirates. Some words about european pirates:

  • Finnish pirates prepare for elections and going to invite volunteers from Scandinavian countries.
  • Iceland pirates have 3 pirates in the Parliament and hold public positions. So they are hacking the system from the inside.
  • Czech young pirates haven’t had a big progress but the last year they helped to organize election process in Czech Republic.
  • German young pirates have some internal problems between board of different cities, because each pirates’ structure has its own activity and agenda.
  • France. Sometimes pirates organize CryptoParties but only for pirates. In future they can make such events more open for people.
  • Swedish young pirates helped to organize elections and all forces have gone to make it.

So belarusian Pirates Center (as Falanster’s project) has no less progress than the others pirates’ organizations: hold educational events – CryptoParties, Wiki-Days, Open Data day, launching Creative Commons Affiliate. And does not take care about elections agenda that is popular in other countries.

My own opinion is that Minsk is more beautiful than Brussels so everybody is welcome to marvelous country – Belarus!


P.C. There were positive moments, like BikeKitchen at the Brussels street and crowds of bicyclists at the Day Without Cars :)


YEEA – It has been amazing!

Guest post by juli of Junge Pirat*innen Österreichs

Young European Election Ambassadors: Young Pirates of Europe Conference – Brussels, March 20–24, 2014

Over 70 young pirates from 22 different countries all over Europe gathered in Brussels between March 20th and 24th to hold their first conference: Young European Election Ambassadors (YEEA).
After their founding in August 2013 in Sweden this was their first huge gathering. The aim of the event was to connect Young Pirates from all over Europe to share experiences, knowledge and skills, build a network between young activists and to, most importantly, come up with effective ways of spreading the word about why it is important to vote in the EP2014 elections, which will take place just a few weeks after YEEA 2014.

Within a very short time the desired positive and productive atmosphere set in. People that did not even know each other before came closer and started to make plans on how to change Europe for the better. This general good mood and motivated atmosphere could be kept alive during the whole event: Not least because of the excellent job that was done by the organisation group (THANK YOU!!) and the awareness team, whose range of responsibilities was to make sure all participants felt comfortable during the event.

So, what did we actually do in Brussels?

After some organisational work, logistical planning and setting up the venue on Thursday (March 20th), we kicked off the actual event with a lead tour through the building and our participation in the founding of the European Pirate Party (PPEU) on Friday noon in the European Parliament. As we all already were in the EP, we continued there with workshops on EU trade policy and Internet governance. We completed the day with a barbecue dinner and networking event at the Brussels Hackspace.

Tired but exited we continued with our program on Saturday morning at our event location „BYRRH“, a former brewery that is now a huge community-driven artspace in northern Brussels. In her keynote speech, Julia Reda, chairwoman of Young Pirates of Europe, welcomed everyone in this creative, pirate-like space and explained the further structure of YEEA: There would be three main lecture/workshop rooms, with sessions, workshops and a barcamp slot, held by various European speakers on different political and social issues. There would be a delicious home-cooked vegan meal for lunch and dinner. There would be the possibility for socialising, skill- and experience-sharing and self-organised working.

Motivated and full of euphoria for these three amazing, content-full days ahead we then started into Saturday. Open Data, Data Protection, European Asylum Policy, Social Media as a tool, Political Speak, visualising EU politics through Street Art and much more were on the agenda. The culmination of this day was a joint party with artists from BYRRH art space and the local community in a hall of the former brewery.

On Sunday we started strongly into the new day with a keynote speech by Ásta Helgadóttir, a Pirate MP from Iceland. She congratulated us on our successful event and reminded everyone to not forget to keep doing actual politics over all the improving of our networks and attempting to improve the whole world. We continued with various sessions, workshops and barcamp slots on Efficient Campaigning, Networks for Women and Genderqueers in Politics, the NSA Scandal, Copyright, European Identity and History of the Internet – just to name a few of them. As a cherry on top, „Captain Europe“ visited us for our daily YEEA evaluation and socialising session.

Overloaded with information and fresh ideas we decided to explore our host city Brussels a little bit after our joint international dinner at BYRRH. Thanks to the daily commute between our hostel and the event location we were already quite experienced with the confusing public transport system in Brussels. We found our way to a cozy pub in the city centre. It was not just any pub, it was THE pub where everything started. It was the pub where young people from all over Europe began to develop their initial ideas of a Europe-wide network of young, inspired and enthusiastic people, ideas of founding YPE.

After we drew our last evening to a leisurely end, got some well-earned sleep and checked out of the hostel, we returned to BYRRH on Monday morning, almost a little wistful already, for the closing session and to do the final clean up.

But what’s on our agenda now?

70 dedicated, committed, motivated, inspired, educated young pirates, networked with each other, stepped out of YEEA 2014. This is the base for sucessful young voter campaigns in many European countries. Every participant of YEEA 2014 is a “Young European Election Ambassador” now. It is now our task to promote the European elections to peers, kick off a national campaign to convince young people to vote in the EP2014 elections and inform first-time voters about the importance and relevance of the European election. With all the gained knowledge, fresh inspiration and built network after this event, this should be peanuts.

YEEA 2014 – It has been amazing! Thank you!

EU_flag_yia_ENThis event was realised with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this text are the sole responsibility of YPE and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.


The Young Pirates of Europe are looking forward to the Young European Election Ambassadors conference which will take place this week from Thursday, 20th until Monday, 24th of March in Brussels. YEEA is a project by pirate youth organisations all over Europe to familiarise young people with the European Union and excite them for the upcoming elections. The conference will have political discussions, a barcamp as well as a workshop part to bring nearer the important topics the European Parliament will deal with in the near future and are thus essential (not only) for the pirate movement.

The policy discussions will be led by participants with expertise on the topic or by external experts such as policy makers and representatives of NGOs. The barcamp is an open space for the participants to discuss issues in a non-structured format. Apart from the main programme, there will also be an opportunity to visit the European Parliament and meet its members.

The importance of the European Union as a whole and of the elections for its parliament in particular are often disregarded by its inhabitants in favour of national politics. But since a lot of member state laws are based on EU directives, we regard this is a fundamental mistake. Hence, another goal of YEEA is to motivate young people not only to take part in the elections, but for them to motivate others as well.

We hope to see you there!

YPE chairperson elected head candidate for EU elections in Germany

Julia Reda, chairperson of Young Pirates of Europe, was elected head candidate of the German Piratenpartei for the upcoming European elections on January 4th, 2014. The Young Pirates of Europe wish her the best of luck for her campaign in the next months!

Among her campaign topics are the participation of young people in the political system as well as the strengthening of human rights and democracy across Europe. These ideas and values are dear to the Young Pirates of Europe, and we hope Julia will be given the opportunity of bringing them to the European Parliament.
Continue reading YPE chairperson elected head candidate for EU elections in Germany

Call to TPP negotiators against life + 70 year copyright term

Along with other international NGOs, Young Pirates of Europe have sent an open letter to the negotiators of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) against the inclusion of a copyright term of an author’s life + 70 years in TPP. The letter reads:

December 9, 2013

Dear TPP negotiators,

In a December 7-10 meeting in Singapore you will be asked to endorse a binding obligation to grant copyright protection for 70 years after the death of an author. We urge you to reject the life + 70 year term for copyright.

There is no benefit to society of extending copyright beyond the 50 years mandated by the WTO. While some TPP countries, like the United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Singapore or Australia, already have life + 70 (or longer) copyright terms, there is growing recognition that such terms were a mistake, and should be shortened, or modified by requiring formalities for the extended periods.

The primary harm from the life + 70 copyright term is the loss of access to countless books, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, films, sound recordings and other works that are “owned” but largely not commercialized, forgotten, and lost. The extended terms are also costly to consumers and performers, while benefiting persons and corporate owners that had nothing to do with the creation of the work.

Life+70 is a mistake, and it will be an embarrassment to enshrine this mistake into the largest regional trade agreement ever negotiated.


Organizations signing include:

  • American Archivists (SAA)
  • American Library Association (ALA)
  • Association for Progressive Communications
  • Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
  • Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA)
  • CIPPIC, the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic,
  • University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law
  • Communia Association
  • Consumers International
  • Creative Commons
  • Creative Freedom Foundation
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
  • Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL)
  • Free Software Foundation (FSF)
  • Gene Ethics
  • International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA)
  • Internet Archive
  • Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
  • Movement for the Internet Active Users (Japan)
  • New Media Rights
  • Open Knowledge Foundation
  • Public Citizen
  • Public Knowledge (PK)
  • Young Pirates of Europe

A full list of signatories, including individuals, can be found here.

Visit to Seoul #YouthHubCon2013

Article by Julia Reda, chairperson of YPE

Reshaping the Way We Live

Thanks to an invitation by the Korean youth initiative The Next, I had the chance to spend the last week at #YouthHubCon2013 in Seoul, Korea. The Youth Hub Conference is an initiative by the mayor of Seoul to provide a chance for local youth organisations to network and invite speakers from abroad. The content of the conference was hence prepared by eight youth groups with diverse activities such as social innovation through open source software, creating co-working spaces or building furniture from recycled wood materials. The groups invited speakers from all over the world to their home bases located across Seoul to form one great decentralised youth conference.

Next Generation Democracy

One of the eight hosting youth groups is The Next, an NGO that focuses on getting the next generation of young people involved in democracy. I was lucky enough to be invited by The Next to talk about the European Young Pirates’ experience of finding new ways of youth participation in party politics. Just like in many European countries, the Korean party system is dominated by two major parties and social change through elections is slow and difficult to achieve. While a lot of young people feel passionately about political issues, they are put off by the established parties. With its young member base and unconventional methods of participation, the Pirate Party is an exception that can inform new ways of political involvement for young people.

My talk at the Youth Hub Conference covered the use of the Liquid Democracy software LiquidFeedback by many European Pirate Parties. Liquid Democracy aims to combine the positive aspects of representative and direct democracy while avoiding the pitfalls. Every participant can decide whether to vote on issues directly or to delegate their vote to somebody else. Unlike traditional representative systems, Liquid Democracy makes it possible for people to delegate their votes to different people for different policy areas and individual topics and to revoke their delegation at any time. The use of technology makes it possible for such a system of dynamic delegation to remain transparent.

Thanks to a number of volunteer English-Korean interpreters, a lively debate about the Pirates’ experience with LiquidFeedback and the possible applications in Korean civil society arose. Major concerns, not unlike discussions in my home country Germany, regarded the degree to which decisions made through LiquidFeedback can be binding to parliamentarians, as well as the conflict between transparency of the voting behaviour and the privacy of participants. Likewise, a lot of the other issues discussed within the Pirate movement, such as the idea of a basic income guarantee, resonated with the youths involved in the event.

Global Fight for Digital Rights

While talking to the Korean activists, I found that many of the threats to digital rights that we deal with in a European context are also prevalent in Korea. For example, there’s blocking of websites with content that is deemed immoral by the state. A young graphic designer I talked to described the rampant blocking of visual art as a significant hindrance to his work and education. But of course, there’s also the more obvious negative effect of internet blocking that it’s easy for the state to suppress undesired opinions without any transparency or legal recourse.

Korean activists managed to defeat a real-name policy for all online comments in front of the constitutional court, but the state is still using real-name identification to keep minors from playing online games at night. The justification that gaming supposedly contributes to violent crime among teens is eerily reminiscent of discussions about first-person shooters in Europe (and equally far-fetched). This particular policy prompted huge demonstrations, once again highlighting that Korean youth are not apathetic, but willing to engage in unconventional political activity when they feel that their way of life is being policed. Of course, the success of the state’s youth protection policy is questionable, considering the rather sudden increase in middle-aged housewives’ online gaming activity late at night.

Hopeful signs for digital rights are also to be found: The Korean public successfully pushed back against mandatory biometric ID cards. Also, the introduction of a fair-use clause into Korean copyright is making it easier to creatively re-use and remix copyrighted material. My trip has made it more apparent to me that the fight for digital rights is a global one and we can greatly benefit from continuing to build a global network of parties, NGOs and individuals who are willing to advance the empowering possibilities of a free and open Internet. I am very thankful to all the people who welcomed me to Seoul and shared their experiences with me. It’s been an exciting and memorable time

Last week in YPE: Episode #1

Hey there! You’re currently reading my recap of what happened in the last week in the Young Pirates of Europe. I’m planning to extend this to a regular thing to give our member organizations and all other interested people an overview of what’s currently going on.

After months of preparation it’s finally happened last friday: Young Pirates from all over Europe gathered in Sweden to found the Young Pirates of Europe (YPE).

To start with the obvious: We’ve been founded! There’s not much to say on this since all that’s to be told has already been written way more eloquently than I ever could by the wonderful Julia Reda in our first ever blog post (from which the above quote is taken).

So, what happened after the inaugural meeting?

Serious business on the board mailing list
Serious business on the board mailing list

After a short Doodle on our newly created board mailing list, we’ve had our first board meeting (Minutes and recording in our Wiki) on the 15th of August, where we discussed organizational topics like the distribution of responsibilites within the board. Besides the distribution of obvious tasks like legal representation of the organization, finances, etc. we also gave every board member a bunch of European (and Non-European) countries for which they will act as a contact person.
Continue reading Last week in YPE: Episode #1

Young Pirates launch European umbrella organization

After months of preparation it’s finally happened last friday: Young Pirates from all over Europe gathered in Sweden to found the Young Pirates of Europe (YPE). The Young Pirates of Germany, Finland, Flanders, France, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden and Belarus are founding members. The inaugural meeting took place during the summer camp of the Swedish Young Pirates (Ung Pirat). Young Pirates from Iceland and the Czech Republic also participated and are already in the process of founding Young Pirates organizations in their countries.

We took initiative for a European youth organization because we want to bring our members together. Instead of inviting each other to our events, we’ll host shared European summer camps and conferences in the future. The limitation on Europe has practical reasons: Except for New Zealand, we don’t know of any Young Pirates organizations from outside of Europe, and we want to make it possible for our members to also meet offline, which is easier to realize within Europe. Countries like Belarus are also able to participate since we’re using a broad definition of «Europe». We’re also planning to be founding member of the European Pirate Party (PPEU) and want to support it in it’s election campaign for the European elections in 2014.

On the founding meeting I’ve been elected as chairperson. Other board members are Paula Roth from Sweden (Treasurer) and Lukas Martini from Germany (Secretary General), as well as Lotta Söderholm (Finland), Paul Berettoni (France), Jana Michailidu (Czech) and Mikael Iresten (Sweden) as additional board members. We’re highly motivated and excited to finally have an organizational framework for our shared activities.

The Young Pirates of Europe are an umbrella organization, consisting of the national and regional Young Pirates organizations, but all Young Pirates from Europe are invited to bring themselves in. There are several possibilities to fill YPE with life, be it the organisation of political conferences, youth camps or collective campaigns for European elections.

Anyone willing to directly participate within YPE can sign up on our mailing list by sending an empty email to The working language of YPE is English.

This article was first published in the Flaschenpost, the German pirate party’s news magazine, on the 14th of August 2013. Translation by Lukas Martini.