Sweden’s Pirate Party, striking a chord with voters who want more free content on the Internet, won a seat in the European Parliament. The Pirate Party captured 7.1 percent of votes in Sweden, enough to give it a single seat. The party wants to deregulate copyright, abolish the patent system and reduce surveillance on the Internet.
“This is fantastic!” Christian Engstrom, the party’s top candidate, told Reuters. “This shows that there are a lot of people who think that personal integrity is important and that it matters that we deal with the Internet and the new information society in the right way.” Previously an obscure group of single-issue activists, the party enjoyed a jump in popularity after the conviction in April of four men behind The Pirate Bay, one of the world’s biggest free file-sharing website.
The case cast a spotlight on the issue of internet file-sharing, a technique used to download movies, music and other content. The defendants have called for a retrial.
Despite the names, the party and the website are not formally linked. The party was founded in 2006 and contested a Swedish general election that year, but received less than one percent of the vote.