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French National Front woos internet pirates

Extreme right backs music tax alternative to Hadopi

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The leader of the French National Front party, Marine Le Pen, wants Hadopi scrapped and replaced with a blanket licence to compensate creative industries. The extreme right party's freetard-friendly gambit has caused the Socialists, who also oppose Hadopi, to rethink their policies.

According to The New York Times, Parti socialiste members have moved away from support for a blanket licence, and now support Hadopi alternatives such as site-blocking – and may still tax ISPs and search engines.

Alliances between the pirates and far right parties are increasing. Most notoriously, the Pirate Bay was bankrolled by Carl Lundström, the heir to the Wasabröd fortune. Lundström financially supported the Progress Party and the racist Keep Sweden Swedish campaign, and was linked to a racist attack in 1985. [Swedish / English Translation.]

"The event was very 'young male geek' oriented, with a few sprinkles of diversity, mainly some political parties, including some some right wing fringe parties I had never heard of before," reported one observer on the recent ACTA demonstration in Vienna.

The Pirate Party UK was founded on similar disaffection, and feelings of victimisation and powerlessness, which far right parties have traditionally exploited.

Despite electoral success in Berlin, the Pirate Party has flopped in Sweden and the UK. In the wake of the Digital Economy Act, the PPUK could barely muster over 100 votes – or 0.3 per cent of the vote – in each constituency in which it fielded candidates.*

More problematic for politicians of any hue who wish to woo the ideological copyright infringement vote is that whacking freetards remains popular with the general public, who reason that if they pay, then others shouldn't be able to freeload. Half of the public backed internet suspensions in last year's Google survey.

Even people who admit to downloading unlicensed goodies support stronger enforcement penalties. Work that one out. ®

*Bootnote

It doesn't help that they're not completely on top of events.

"Feargal Sharkey you certainly do not speak for me!" stormed the PPUK's Laurence 'Loz' Kaye at the anti-ACTA demonstration 10 days ago. We infer that he was unaware that Sharkey had quit his post as head of UK Music last November.

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