Pirate party wins seat in EU parliament
A POLITICAL party that represents internet pirates has been voted into the European Parliament.

Sweden's Pirate Party wants to deregulate copyright, abolish the patent system and reduce surveillance on the internet. It captured 7.1 per cent of Swedish votes in the Europe-wide ballot -- enough to win it a seat.

"This is fantastic," said the party's top candidate, Christian Engstrom. "This shows that there are a lot of people who think that personal integrity is important and that it matters that we deal with the internet and the new information society in the right way."

Sweden's Pirate Party was founded in 2006 after the country authorised email monitoring and tightened file-sharing laws.

"When the verdict was announced at 11.00am, we had 14,711 members," the Pirate Party's founder Rick Falkvinge told TimesOnline.co.uk. "We tripled in a week, becoming the third-biggest party in Sweden in terms of numbers. All of a sudden we were everywhere."

Despite the similar names, the party and the website are not linked. The party was founded in 2006 and contested a Swedish general election that year, but received less than one per cent of the vote. The party promotes civil liberties and has a core following of young, male internet users.

"We are very strong among those under 30," Mr Engstrom said. "They are the ones who understand the new world the best. And they have now signalled they don't like how the big parties deal with these issues."

The Pirate Party will take up one of Sweden's 18 seats in the 785-seat parliament.

"We will use all of our strength to defend personal integrity and our civil rights," Mr Engstrom said.
Posted by: tipper 2009-06-08