Pirate Party in Parliament

MULTIMEDIA: Interview with Johnathan Phan, representative, Pirate Party UK.

READ: In 3 years, the idea of the International Pirate Party has grown in popularity and influence.

Any arrticle about pirates seems incomplete without wordplay that tries too hard, and this sentence is our feeble attempt to pander to Rackham-esque stereotypes.

With that out of the way, we take a serious look at the pirates who are entering politics, and making their presence felt in Parliaments across Europe.

In the 2009 European Parliament Elections held in early June, the Swedish Piratpartiet or Pirate Party won one seat to Parliament (two if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified).

This political group’s principles stress the need to review legislation in an emerging information society. They particularly call for reform of privacy, piracy, patent and copyright laws.

According to reports, in just over 3 years since it was established, the Party has grown into the third largest political party in Sweden in terms of membership.

High profile cases like the trial of the founders of BitTorrent tracker, The Pirate Bay, has only helped galvanise support.

The popularity of the party, especially among the youth is believed to have encouraged other mainstream parties to reconsider their stand on issues such as file sharing and copyright.

Pirate Party in UK

Following the success of the Swedish Pirate Party, groups with identical or similar ideologies have been floated under the same banner across Europe and the world.

Spain, Germany and the Czech Republic are some of the countries with a registered Pirate Party.

Pirate Party UK (PPUK) is in the process of getting registered with the Election Commission in time for the next elections.

The Party recently announced the appointment of its elected party officers. Members are currently involved in drafting the Party constitution and manifesto.

Critics we spoke to have dismissed the Pirate Party as a group of “college kids who want free mp3s,” and who are looking for a way to justify illegal file sharing.

Indeed the very name leads to frequent scepticism about the purpose and ambitions of the party.

Johnathan Phan, representative of PPUK says:

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PPUK admits that the demographic it speaks to is the tech savvy generation between the ages of 18 and 30. "Anyone older is more in tuned with the argument of free speech, and the legal implications of what copyright does," says Johnathan.

"The different age groups mesh well. Through debate and argument, the older generation is educating the younger generation."



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