Pirate Party wins European Parliament seat

Stockholm, Sweden – Sweden’s Pirate Party, created to lobby for free internet content, has won a seat in the European elections.

The party won 7.1 percent of the vote in Sweden, giving it a seat in the 785-seat European Parliament.

The Pirate Party was founded in 2006, and wants to cut the period of copyright protection, allow non-commercial file sharing, abolish the patent system and reduce surveillance on the internet. The founders were prompted by a set of controversial laws adopted in Sweden that criminalised filesharing and authorised the monitoring of emails.

It contested a general election the year it was founded, but won less than one per cent of the vote. But it gained visibility following the lawsuit against the unrelated Pirate Bay website, which allows users to find BitTorrent files for peer-to-peer file-sharing.

“Following the 9/11 event in the US, Europe has allowed itself to be swept along in a panic reaction to try to end all evil by increasing the level of surveillance and control over the entire population,” says the party on its website. “The arguments for each step on the road to the surveillance state may sound ever so convincing. But we Europeans know from experience where that road leads, and it is not somewhere we want to go.”