by Jack Schofield
The Pirate Party isn't related to the Pirate Bay torrent site, but it wants to legalise internet file-sharing and protect people's privacy on the net
The Pirate Party, which wants to legalise internet file-sharing, has won one of Sweden's 18 seats in the European parliament. AFP reports that the Pirate Party won 7.1% of votes with ballots in 5,659 constituencies out of 5,664 counted.
And according to the TorrentFreak web site: "Sweden has 20 seats, but until the Lisbon treaty passes only 18 with voting rights. This means that the Pirate Party will have 2 seats."
The party, founded in 2006, benefited from publicity around the lawsuit against Sweden's Pirate Bay website, which helps users find BitTorrent files for peer-to-peer file-sharing. TorrentFreak says:
After the Pirate Bay verdict, Pirate Party membership more than tripled and they now have over 48,000 registered members, more than the total number of votes they received in 2006.
A German Pirate Party also took part in the European elections, and there's no reason why similar parties should not be launched in the UK and other countries.
Part of the Pirate Party's platform is to increase people's privacy on the web, and to protect freedom of speech, says party leader Rickard Falkvinge. It also wants to reform the copyright laws and patent system. These ideas could well attract support in the UK, where the government appears to have little interest in protecting people's privacy.Update: As KTetch points out in a comment (thanks!): "There *IS* a UK Pirate Party (http://pirateparty.org.uk/), and there's a US (http://pirate-party.us) one, and one in a few dozen others."