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The Pirate Party UK has been all but swamped by interest shown since they registered as an official political party last month, its leader claimed this week.

Andrew Peter Robinson, party leader, told The Register: "It has exceeded all expectations. Put it this way, donations have been coming in so fast that PayPal were concerned we were a fraudulent site." Robinson said it was hard to keep up with interest but about 100 people an hour were joining the party.

Robinson said: "The party was born of the feeling at the last European elections that there was no one to vote for and a group of us were jealous of people in Sweden who could vote for the Pirate Party." There is no organisational link, or funding, between the two groups although they do talk through the Pirate Party International site.

The group is now registered with the Electoral Commission and has four elected officials. This costs £150, along with £35 to register for data protection.

Robinson is realistic about the party's chances of sweeping to power: "We're not going to win any seats but we can get these issues discussed." The party will look to contest as many seats as funds allow and may even stand at a by-election if there is one before the general election. Michael Martin's seat in Glasgow may be contested in the autumn, for example. Standing in every constituency would cost £325,000 just for deposits, with nothing spent on posters and publicity.

The pirates, apart from wanting to legalise non-commercial file sharing and ending excessive surveillance, call for reform of copyright laws which they believe are excessively long and fail to benefit artists.

Robinson said: "The system as it is doesn't reward artists. Typical record contracts now grant 95 per cent of revenues to the record label, not the band. Reorganising that would help make up for a lot of the shortfall from cutting the length of copyright." ®

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