Pirate Party Leader: Death To Copyright Law, Except When My Book Is Published



BERLIN - German politician Julia Schramm, 26, is a member of the national executive committee of the Pirate Party, which has built a strong following for its crusade for Internet freedom and an end to copyright law.

But soon after the publication last week of Schramm's new book called Klick Mich: Bekenntnisse einer Internet-Exhibitionistin (Click Me: Confessions of an Internet Exhibitionist), an illegal free download appeared on the Internet -- and the *pirate found herself under seige.

Random House-owned Knaus Verlag, quickly filed a take-down request, and Schramm found herself accused of mega-hypocrisy. That which others think of as basic intellectual property rights, the budding author has called “disgusting.”

Asked in an interview published by Die Welt how she reconciles the two positions, Schramm replied: “To me it’s only a perceived contradiction. There will always be texts available for free on my blog, including excerpts from the book…The rights revert to me after ten years and I will at that point make the book available for free.”

Does she still stand by her description of intellectual rights as “disgusting?” “Yes,” said Schramm. “The idea behind the use of that word is an emancipatory one, it’s the idea of freeing artists from patronage. The problem is the repressive use of such rights that limits the rights of both artists and users.”

Has she betrayed the Internet community? “In retrospect I see that I probably should have been more aggressive in my negotiations with my publisher. But at the time I was just so happy to be able to realize my dream of publishing a book. Maybe I should have insisted that the book be available free for non-commercial use on the Internet. The solution we ended up with is not perfect, but it’s okay.”

Der Spiegel notes that Schramm is an easy target for both opponents and supporters of the Pirate philosophy. She was allegedly paid an advance of €100,000 ($130,000) for the book, and is still widely remembered for her glib assertion that "privacy is so Eighties..."

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!

Dutch Cities Have Been Secretly Probing Mosques Since 2013

Revelations of a nationally funded clandestine operation within 10 municipalities in the Netherlands to keep tabs on mosques and Muslim organizations after a rise in radicalization eight years ago.

The Nasser mosque in Veenendaal, one of the mosques reportedly surveilled

Meike Eijsberg

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Photo of people standing on prayer mats inside a Dutch mosque

Praying inside a Dutch mosque.


Broken trust in Islamic community

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talk to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!