The Pirate Party (Template:Lang-sv) is originally a political party in Sweden, which has given rise to parties under the same name with similar goals in Europe and worldwide. The party strives to reform laws regarding intellectual property, including copyright, patent and the protection of design. The agenda also includes support for a strengthening of the right to privacy, both on the Internet and in everyday life, and the transparency of the state administration. Since it does not have an agenda on any other issues, the party claims it is not possible to place it anywhere on the left-right scale.
Initially, the party was against trademark rights, but did an about-face on that question when the first party programme was accepted. It also contained changes to what the party thought about copyright and patent, amongst others. After around a month of existence, the party had gained 900 members, paying the membership fee of 5 Swedish kronor (approx. US$0.69, c.2006), payable by SMS. The current board of the party consists of Rickard Falkvinge (founder), Christian Engström, Mårten Fjällström, Bo Leuf, Björn Odlund, Stefan Flod and Jan Lindgren. A former board member of the Pirate Party was Mikael Viborg, also known as the legal advisor of the popular BitTorrent tracker, The Pirate Bay.
History and foundationEdit
The website for the Pirate Party was opened on January 1, 2006 (at 20.30 CEST), starting the foundation of the party. Six phases were presented, with phase one being the collection of at least 2,000 signatures (500 more than needed) to be handed over to the Swedish Election Authority before February 4 (while the absolutely last date would have been February 28), so that the party would be allowed to participate in the Swedish general election of 2006, which took place on September 17. Fewer than 24 hours after the opening of the website, the party had collected over 2,000 signatures (2,268 at 16.05 CEST).
By the morning of January 3, the party closed the signature collection. In about 36 hours, they had gathered 4,725 signatures. Given that signatories are required by Swedish election law to identify themselves when giving support for a new party, international media reported this as a significant feat, given the nature of the party. However, signatures presented to the election authorities are required to be handwritten. The goal of at least 1,500 handwritten signatures was reached February 10 and the final confirmation from the authorities was presented three days later.
Phases two to five included registering at the election authority, getting candidates for the Riksdag, getting ballots, and preparing an organization for the election, including local organizations in all Municipalities of Sweden with a population in excess of 50,000. As of 2005 this meant 43 municipalities from Malmö in the south to Luleå in the north. During this phase the fundraising was also started, with an initial goal of raising 1 million SEK ($126,409).
The sixth and final phase was the election itself. The party, which claims that there are between 800,000 and 1.1 million active file sharers in Sweden hoped that at least 225,000 (4% of the anticipated vote) of those are voting for the party, granting them membership in Parliament.
The May 31 2006 Swedish police raid of the facility hosting The Pirate Bay (and Piratbyrån, along with over 200 other independent site owners, hosted at the same facility) meant a breakthrough for the party in the public eye. Before the raid the party was steadily growing with some ten new members every day, but the aforementioned raid by the police led to more than 500 new members by the end of the day, with a membership count of 2680. The next day had another 930 people register membership, for a total of 3611 members.
On June 3 2006, the party performed a "pirate demonstration" in Stockholm and Gothenburg. The demonstration was in collaboration with some other parties' youth sections (the Liberal Youth of Sweden, Green Youth and Young Left). Within a few days the file sharing issues had – alongside the wide international cover – become the focus of national debate. Along with criticizing the approach to restricting Pirate Bay's file sharing by the Minister for Justice Thomas Bodström, the right to free information and rule of law became the party's main interests.
Media attention in the first weekEdit
Media quickly picked up on the movement. On January 2 (Monday), a large Swedish newspaper, Dagens Industri, produced a story on what was happening. By 3 p.m., the media seemed irritated that no owner of the website was listed or easy to track down; some reports listed the website as not serious and a PR stunt. However, the largest Swedish tabloid, Aftonbladet, managed to track party leader Rickard Falkvinge down at work. Falkvinge, however, was unable to explain the party's positions while at work, bringing this information gathering effort to an abrupt end.
On January 3 (Tuesday), all the major Swedish news outlets had produced stories on the party. The newspaper Aftonbladet posted an online poll indicating that its readers gave the party a 61% approval rating, and IDG produced a longer front page interview with Mr. Falkvinge in the afternoon. IDG also posted an online poll similar to the initial one with similar results. The party website was also slashdotted.
The web server received a million hits on its first day of operation, two million the next.
On Wednesday, international media and radio stations picked up the story. The major Swedish radio station broadcast an interview with Mr. Falkvinge about the unexpected amount of attention the initiative received. More attention followed Thursday, including coverage by the BBC World Service, the first global radio station to produce a story on the Pirate Party initiative.
At the end of the first week, the Pirate Party platform had been covered by over 500 English-speaking media outlets and over 600 Spanish-speaking media outlets.
As of early 2007, the party had over 9,600 members. This marked the second time it surpassed the membership count of the Green Party, which is in the Swedish parliament. The Green Party has not published any new membership count since then, whereas the Pirate Party's count has decreased to about 5,700 as of August 2007, a decrease that is normal in the year following an election.
The party is currently in the process of raising funds for the 2009 and 2010 election campaigns.
Less than a week before the 2006 elections, the Green Party shifted their stance on copyright reform. Additionally, both the Moderate Party and the Left Party changed their stances on internet downloads, and both prime minister candidates stated publicly that it shouldn't be illegal for young people to share files. Several influential analysts have credited the Pirate Party and its rising popularity for this shift in the political climate; these include a panel of senior editors at International Data Group and political analysts at the largest morning newspaper, Dagens Nyheter. Additionally, the Swedish Minister of Justice, Thomas Bodström, announced on June 9 that he was willing to negotiate a possible revision of the law introduced in 2005 that made unauthorized downloading of copyrighted material illegal, introducing a new tax on broadband Internet access, but he later denied having changed his stance on the issue.
After the 2006 elections, the issue has faded away from the public debate somewhat.
Outside of Sweden, pirate parties have been started in several countries, inspired by the Swedish initiative. Officially registered pirate parties exist in Spain, Austria, Germany and Poland, while those in the USA, France and Argentina are currently unregistered, but active. The German Pirate Party became the second Pirate Party to contest an election, in the Hesse state election, 2008, and received 0.3% of valid votes. . Additionally, there are discussions on Pirate Party International about forming parties in the Netherlands, Chile, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Serbia, Romania, Republic of Ireland and a letter of notification that a party is forming in Peru.
Election results, voter baseEdit
The Pirate Party captured 34,918 votes in the Swedish general election of 2006, their first participation at an election for parliament since the founding of the party less than 9 months prior. With 0.63% of the overall votes, it became the 10th biggest party of more than 40 participating. However, a voting result of less than 4% of the total votes does not qualify the party for seats in the Swedish Parliament. Getting more than 1% of the vote would have granted the party financial assistance from the state for printing ballots which is costly in Sweden, while at least 2.5% would grant them state funds for campaigning in the next election. Despite the setbacks, Falkvinge is already planning for the European Parliament election in 2009 and Swedish general election in 2010.
The party scored considerably higher in school mock elections, 4.5%, even though there were no Pirate Party ballots available in most schools. This led political commentators to conclude that while it may not be a considerable power at present, the school election results show that the Pirate Party may become a new player on the political scene.
Relations to other Swedish pirate organizationsEdit
There are three major pirate organizations in Sweden: The political Pirate Party, the NGO Piratbyrån, and the BitTorrent tracker The Pirate Bay. Of these three, Piratbyrån and The Pirate Bay share a common history but are now separate, whereas the Pirate Party developed on a completely parallel track and is unrelated to both the other ones.
The independence of these similar organizations has been doubted by some media, but their parallel development is generally defended as just a natural evolution in one of the world's major epicenters of copyright criticism. The three organizations have different goals and different modes of operation.
In addition to these three organizations, there are numerous minor ones.
International impact of the Pirate PartyEdit
Within a couple of months after the founding of the Swedish Pirate Party many other pirate parties were established in many different countries.
In June 2007 different members of international pirate parties met in Vienna, Austria to discuss the future of the movement. The conference was called "Next Step Politics!? Pirates to Brussels in 2009!?". The event was organized by the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts and activist groups such as monochrom and transforming freedom.
- Elections in Sweden
- EU Copyright Directive and DADVSI
- Piratbyrån (not affiliated with the Pirate Party)
- Politics of Sweden
- Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA)
- The Pirate Bay (not affiliated with the Pirate Party)
- ↑ "Vågmästarställning" from piratpartiet.se, accessed on August 28, 2006
- ↑ "Pictures from the piracy demonstration", by Ulf Sjöström, Pirate Watch, June 3 2006, accessed on June 5, 2006
- ↑ "Would you consider voting for the Pirate Party?", poll by Aftonbladet, at 61% yes in early January of 2006 with 50,000 responding; at 57% on July 30, 2006 with 99,000 responding
- ↑ "Would you consider voting for a pirate party?", poll by IDG, active January 3-9, 2006, accessed on July 30, 2006
- ↑ "Medlemsantal" from piratpartiet.se, accessed on April 5, 2007
- ↑ Släpp filerna fria!, by the Swedish Greens
- ↑ Larger parties bend to support file-sharing under political pressure from P2P Consortium, accessed on June 9, 2006
- ↑ Nu vänder v och m i piratfrågan from Expressen, accessed on June 9, 2006
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 "Upphovsmän kan få jaga fildelare", Dagens Nyheter, February 4, 2007
- ↑ "Piratpartiet har lyckats", published by PC för Alla
- ↑ "Bara mp vill ändra lagen", Dagens Nyheter, February 4, 2007
- ↑ Bodström: "Jag har inte ändrat ståndpunkt" from Aftonbladet, accessed on June 9, 2006
- ↑ Template:Cite web
- ↑ Active country sections on Pirate Party International forums as per 2007-Jan-21
- ↑ "Voters Keelhaul Pirate Party" from wired.com, accessed on September 20, 2006
- ↑ Hallandsposten, comments on the school election, accessed on January 22, 2007
Official sites, documentsEdit
- Template:En icon Pirate Party official site
- Template:En icon Template:PDFlink Declaration of Principles
- Template:En icon 2006 Election Manifesto 2006 election manifesto
- Site for demonstrations following the May 31 raid on The Pirate Bay
- Interview with founder in LinuxP2P
- Interview with founder in The Local by Agence France-Presse
- YouTube Interview with Founder Rick Falkvinge
- Google Video Interview with Founder Rick Falkvinge, in Swedish (with english subtitles).
- Rickard Falkvinge speaks at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention 2007 (27 July 2007)
- Rickard Falkvinge speaks at Google (31 July 2007)
- Rickard Falkvinge speaks at Stanford Law School (31 July 2007)
- Rickard Falkvinge speaks at the party congress 2007 of the German Pirate Party Part 2 Part 3
- Coverage on Slashdot (1 2 3)
- The Technocrat Article
- Article in The Inquirer
-  The Brussels Journal coverage
- English translations of articles about the Pirate Party at P2P Consortium
- Piratbyran's speech at Reboot
Other Pirate partiesEdit
- Pirate Party International
- South Africa
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