Pirate Party wins seat in European parliament

Elections for the European Parliament were held in most European countries today, and, as many expected, Sweden's Piratpartiet, or Pirate Party, has won a seat with over 7% of the vote, according to The Local. Many people associate the Pirate Party with file-sharing, but their aims are wider.

According to their official website, "The Pirate Party wants to fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens' rights to privacy are respected."

More specifically, the agenda the Pirate Party's MEP will take to Brussels includes:

  • Making all non-commercial copying free
  • Limiting copyright to five years--they call the current laws "absurd" noting that "[n]obody needs to make money seventy years after he is dead."
  • Encouraging rather than criminalising file-sharing
  • Making the Internet "the greatest public library ever created" and ensuring everyone the widest access to knowledge and culture
  • Abolishing patents--they hold that "[p]harmaceutical patents [are] kill[ing] people in third world countries every day" and that "[p]atents in other areas range from the morally repulsive (like patents on living organisms) through the seriously harmful (patents on software and business methods) to the merely pointless (patents in the mature manufacturing industries)."
  • Dismantling the surveillance society to protect privacy and civil liberties--they note that "[t]errorists may attack the open society, but only governments can abolish it. The Pirate Party wants to prevent that from happening."
Given that the Pirate Party only have one seat (of Sweden's 18 and of the European Union's total of 736) in the European Parliament, they will have a long road ahead if they are to bring their agenda of protecting privacy and civil liberties and reforming copyright laws to fruition, but they've taken the first step.

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