Swedish pirates invade European Parliament

"We are not red, blue or green. We are just pirates."

By Andrew Leonard

Published June 8, 2009 7:11PM (EDT)

Talk about missing the real story. The recently concluded European Parliament election has been variously described as a victory for "center-right" forces and a defeat for the left, as an embarrassment because the lowest turnout in three decades was registered or as an utter disgrace because the fascist British National Party won two seats.

But here's the real shocker: The Swedish Pirate Party, already the third largest political party in Sweden, took 7.1 percent of the Swedish vote and won at least one seat in the European Parliament.

From the Swedish Pirate Party's Web site:

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

All non-commercial copying and use should be completely free. File sharing and p2p networking should be encouraged rather than criminalized. Culture and knowledge are good things, that increase in value the more they are shared. The Internet could become the greatest public library ever created.

Let the pharmaceutical companies, entertainment media and intellectual property lawyers quail: The people of Sweden (well, 7.1 percent of them) have spoken: What do we want? File-sharing. When do we want it? Now!

As one might guess, the Pirate Party platform makes a hash of traditional political boundary lines. Or, as founder Rickard Falkvinge once told AFP:

"We are not red, blue or green. We are just pirates."

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

MORE FROM Andrew LeonardFOLLOW koxinga21LIKE Andrew Leonard

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

How The World Works Intellectual Property