Controversial political body The Pirate Party has won a seat in the European parliament after capitalising on the pro-Pirate Bay movement in homeland Sweden.
The official website of the party, which has no official affiliation with the headline-grabbing BitTorrent site Pirate Bay, states that it “wants to fundamentally reform copyright law, get rid of the patent system, and ensure that citizens' rights to privacy are respected”.
The Times reports that it secured one of Sweden’s 18 European Parliament seats after grabbing 7.4 per cent of country’s vote. The party’s membership rocketed following the media coverage of the Pirate Bay trial, with swelling numbers overnight transforming it into Sweden’s third biggest political party.
“They have been very lucky because the Pirate Bay verdict came at the same time as the start of the election campaign, but I think the Pirate Party had the potential to grow anyway,” Gothenburg University’s political scientist Ulf Bjereld stated.
“The Pirate Party has taken advantage of a new cleavage in Swedish politics, about civil liberties, about who should have the right to decide over knowledge, and that’s not a left-right cleavage. The traditional parties have been sleeping, they have underestimated the political potential in these issues.”
In the country’s last general election in 2006 the Pirate Party secured just 0.6 per cent of the general vote.