Swedish pirates plan pan-European electoral assault

Arr me hearty, let's unite

The leader of the pro-filesharing Swedish Pirate Party is co-ordinating a pan-European electoral assault for 2009's European Elections.

Rick Falvinge told OUT-LAW Radio that it would be the first ever political platform that stretched across Europe.

Sweden is the home of the Pirate Party, but examples have since sprung up all over Europe. It is these which Falvinge hopes to unite in time for elections to the European Parliament in June 2009.

"We are investigating the possibility of running as the first major pan-European party with a common platform across all countries," said Falvinge. "We are seeing this as the next logical step that we should run on a common platform throughout Europe so that if you look at the French Pirate Party or the Spanish Pirate Party they should have the same programme as the Swedish Pirate Party when we run for the common parliament."

Falvinge said the German and Austrian parties were already on board and that discussions were ongoing with others. There are Pirate Parties in Spain, France, Poland, Italy and Belgium.

The movement began in Sweden on 1 January this year, but was given a major boost when an associated unauthorised download links site, Pirate Bay, was raided by Swedish police. There was public outcry which only worsened when it emerged that the US administration had put pressure on Sweden to act against Pirate Bay.

The movement mushroomed and its international expansion grew from there. Falvinge, speaking to OUT-LAW's weekly podcast, said the party stands for far more than simply legalising file sharing.

"That we are pro-filesharing is a consequence of us being pro-civil liberties," said Falvinge. "We are pro-civil liberties for the exact same reason that the entertainment industry is against civil liberties, because they have a bottom line to protect.

"The entertainment industry is what drives today's witch hunt on civil liberties," he said. "DRM technologies is the large media cartels' way of writing their own laws to circumvent copyright laws and we do have an elected parliament to write such laws."

Falvinge claims that despite the disappointing result, his party has had some policy victories in Sweden. "We have seriously influenced the debate here in Sweden," he said. "All of the established parties who won have shifted feet on their stance towards the file sharing and copyright regime."

Hear the interview at OUT-LAW Radio

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